Senate to vote on ZTE ban in defense bill this week

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO - Visitors pass in front of the ZTE booth at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona© Reuters. FILE PHOTO – Visitors pass in front of the ZTE booth at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Senate will vote as soon as this week on legislation to block a Trump administration agreement that would allow China’s No. 2 telecommunications equipment maker, ZTE Corp (HK:0763), to resume business with U.S. suppliers, lawmakers said on Monday.

The legislation will be included as an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act, or NDAA, a massive defense policy bill the Senate is due to debate this week.

Republican and Democratic lawmakers introduced the legislation last week and said they hoped the Senate would consider it as part of the NDAA, legislation Congress passes every year.

Among other things, the measure would restore penalties on ZTE for violating export controls and bar U.S. government agencies from purchasing or leasing equipment or services from the Chinese company.

On Monday, Republican Senator Tom Cotton and Democratic Senator Chris Van Hollen, who introduced the measure, said Senate leaders had agreed to include it in the “manager’s package” of non-controversial amendments to the bill.

Even if passed by the Senate, the NDAA is a few steps from becoming law. The Senate version of the legislation must be reconciled with the House version before the two chambers can vote on the compromise measure later this year and send it to the White House for President Donald Trump to sign into law or veto.

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