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 TrumpCNN's Camerota clashes with Trump's immigration head over president's tweet LA Times editorial board labels Trump 'Bigot-in-Chief' Trump complains of 'fake polls' after surveys show him trailing multiple Democratic candidates 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 GallegoThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by JUUL Labs - Trump attack on progressive Dems draws sharp rebuke Arizona Democrat: 'To people like Trump I will never be American enough' Arizona Democrat joins call for Trump impeachment 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 HunterJudge refuses to dismiss Duncan Hunter charges LA Times editorial board calls on Duncan Hunter to resign immediately Judge says Duncan Hunter's personal relationships can be evidence in corruption trial MORE (R-Calif.) and Rep. Mike GallagherMichael (Mike) John GallagherKeep our elections free and fair Overnight Defense: House passes T spending package with defense funds | Senate set to vote on blocking Saudi arms sales | UN nominee defends climate change record 58 GOP lawmakers vote against disaster aid bill 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.