Lawmakers take aim at Chinese tech giants in defense bill

Lawmakers take aim at Chinese tech giants in defense bill
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Lawmakers are trying to use the must-pass National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) to take a hard-line stance against Chinese technology in U.S. markets.

On Thursday, several lawmakers attempted to insert amendments into the fiscal 2018 NDAA aimed at keeping products from Chinese tech giants like ZTE and Huawei out of the U.S. over national security concerns.

The moves come after President TrumpDonald John TrumpPelosi arrives in Jordan with bipartisan congressional delegation Trump says his Doral resort will no longer host G-7 after backlash CNN's Anderson Cooper mocks WH press secretary over Fox News interview MORE surprised observers earlier this week by tweeting he would work help get ZTE “back into business, fast” after the company shuttered its operations due to U.S. penalties for allegedly evading sanctions.

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One amendment drafted by Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) proposed that the heads of government agencies report to Congress “any quid pro quo offers between the United States Government and the Government of the People’s Republic of China to ensure the United States will reduce penalties, sanctions, or any other punitive action” against ZTE.

Another by Rep. Ruben GallegoRuben GallegoOvernight Energy: Trump administration issues plan to reverse limits on logging in Tongass National Forest| Democrats inch closer to issuing subpoenas for Interior, EPA records| Trump's plan to boost ethanol miffs corn groups and the fossil fuel industry Trump administration issues plan to reverse limits on logging in Tongass National Forest 2020 Democrats raise alarm about China's intellectual property theft MORE (D-Ariz.) would compel the director of national intelligence to provide Congress with an assessment of the national security implications of Trump's proposal to reduce penalties on ZTE.

Two more amendments from Rep. Duncan HunterDuncan Duane HunterIndicted lawmaker Duncan Hunter fails to land endorsement from local GOP Duncan Hunter challenger raises over 0,000 in third quarter Trump says White House reviewing case of Green Beret charged with Afghan murder MORE (R-Calif.) and Rep. Mike GallagherMichael (Mike) John GallagherHillicon Valley: GOP lawmakers offer election security measure | FTC Dem worries government is 'captured' by Big Tech | Lawmakers condemn Apple over Hong Kong censorship Lawmakers condemn Apple, Activision Blizzard over censorship of Hong Kong protesters On The Money: Fed officials saw rising risk of recession | Ocasio-Cortez, Cruz blast NBA for 'outrageous' response to China | Prospects dim for trade breakthrough with China MORE (R-Wis.) would mandate that President Trump bar ZTE and its larger Chinese mobile phone competitor, Huawei, from bringing their telecommunications equipment into the U.S. until the administration receives confirmation that such companies don’t pose a threat to national security.

The Commerce Department last month suspended U.S. companies from selling equipment to ZTE after the agency found that the company had violated U.S. sanctions on Iran.

Some lawmakers have opposed Trump’s move, saying that it could threaten U.S. national security by more easily allowing companies like ZTE into the U.S. They fear that ZTE access to U.S. telecommunications could give China a backdoor to spy on the U.S.

Some foreign policy experts, though, have defended Trump’s decision as an effort to gain leverage over China in other areas.

In recent months, both the administration and Congress have taken measures to limit Chinese tech companies' presence in the U.S., citing national security concerns.