The Trump administration is working to lift sanctions on the Chinese telecommunications giant ZTE despite top intelligence officials' warnings that the company poses a security risk to the US.
In 2016, the company was suspected of espionage after researchers discovered backdoors in the phone that could allow the monitoring of user behaviour.
Last month Trump administration banned the company, which makes Android Smartphones, from using US technology, after it sold hardware incorporating American technology to Iran and North Korea in violation of US sanctions.
ZTE agreed to pay a US$ 1.2 billion (£0.9 billion) fine in March but soon after Commerce Department officials discovered it had rewarded rather than punished the company officials responsible for the violations and subsequently implemented a “denial order” prohibiting US companies from selling their goods to ZTE for seven years.
The actions effectively crippled the firm yet on Sunday, President Trump tweeted that he and Chinese President Xi are working to give ZTE a way to get back into business fast since too many Chinese jobs have been lost.
On Monday, President Trump doubled down on his comments suggesting the move was part of a broader trade negotiation.
"ZTE, the large Chinese phone company, buys a big percentage of individual parts from US companies,” he tweeted. “This is also reflective of the larger trade deal we are negotiating with China and my personal relationship with President Xi."
House Armed Services Chairman Mac Thornberry said Tuesday that ZTE Corp's ability to tap the US market isn't likely to apply to government agencies and that the company ban is likely to stay in the defence authorisation measure The House is scheduled to take up next week.
“I confess I don't fully understand the administration's take on this at this point,” Thornberry said at Bloomberg Government event. “It is not a question to me of economics, it is a question of security.”