Days after the Trump administration agreed to restore Chinese telecom firm ZTE’s access to its U.S. parts suppliers, a bipartisan group of senators moved to block the deal.
An amendment sponsored by Sens. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., and Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., added language to the National Defense Authorization Act to reinstate a ban on ZTE buying U.S. components. That sanction was put in place after the Chinese company violated the terms of an earlier agreement to punish it for illegal sales to Iran and North Korea.
ZTE employs 70,000 workers in China and is the fourth-largest vendor of mobile phones in the U.S.
The Senate amendment passed despite late Monday-night lobbying from Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Sen. Cotton explained on Twitter that ZTE has extensive ties with the Chinese Communist Party and a record of doing business with North Korean and Iran. He said the threat posed by the mobile phone giant and its rival, Huawei, “is too great to ignore.”