Trump says could include Huawei and ZTE in trade deal

A 3-D printed Huawei logo in front of displayed 5G words in this illustration. PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - US President Donald trump said on Friday (Feb 22) he may or may not include Chinese telecommunications companies Huawei Technologies and ZTE Corp in the trade deal being negotiated between the United States and China.

The Justice Department has charged Huawei and its chief financial officer with conspiring to violate US sanctions on Iran by doing business through a subsidiary it tried to hide. The United States is seeking her extradition.

In a separate case, the Justice Department charged the telecommunications equipment maker with stealing robotic technology from T-Mobile US. Huawei has said the companies settled their dispute in 2017.

Trump told reporters at the White House that US officials are not talking about dropping charges against Huawei.

Huawei will be raised with US attorneys and the attorney general in the coming weeks, Trump said, but "right now it's not something that we're discussing."

Last year, Chinese peer ZTE was prevented from buying essential components from US firms after pleading guilty to similar charges, crippling its operations.

ZTE resumed normal business after paying up to US$1.4 billion in fines and replacing its entire board, on top of a near US$900 million penalty paid in 2017.

It is not clear how ZTE could be involved in any trade agreement.

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