China's ZTE paid over $2.3bln to US exporters last year

Denis O’Brien-owned Digicel said much of its ZTE-related infrastructure roll-out was already complete

Denis O’Brien-owned Digicel said much of its ZTE-related infrastructure roll-out was already complete

As one of the world's largest telecom equipment makers, ZTE relied on US companies such as Qualcomm and Intel for components.

USA commentators say the tone of the tweet is a dramatic shift for Mr Trump, who has consistently accused China of stealing U.S. jobs.

It's not exactly clear how Trump plans to help ZTE or what he's instructed the Commerce Department to do.

The company has been banned from selling equipment in the US, but shutting out supply chain partners like Intel, Qualcomm and Google is potentially catastrophic. In a stark announcement earlier this week, the Chinese telecom giant confirmed it was shutting down "major operating activities".

The firm is the second-largest telecom equipment firm in China and pulled in nearly $17 billion in revenue previous year.

The Chinese company sells smartphones and telecommunications equipment around the world and was slapped with the seven-year export ban because the Chinese company lied to American officials about punishing employees who violated US sanctions on North Korea and Iran. The company tried to quell concerns about its future in the statement.

In Wednesday's statement the firm said it still "maintains sufficient cash and strictly adheres to its commercial obligations".

But replacing US-made parts for its phones is a tall task.

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As a result of the ban, the Shenzhen-based group will be unable to access Qualcomm processors and Android devices with Google Mobile Services software.

ZTE said it is working with the Trump administration to reverse the sanctions and "forge a positive outcome in the development of the matters".

"The company paid over US$2.3 billion to 211 USA exporters in 2017, a senior ZTE official said".

The U.S. President has proposed tariffs on as much as $60 billion in Chinese goods, generating a similar response from Beijing.

Recently, though, the Trump administration also has sought to limit the encroachment of Chinese telecommunications firms in the United States. A ZTE spokesman also did not respond to an email seeking comment.

Digicel made its announcement yesterday after ZTE Corp said on Wednesday that its main business operations had ceased due to the ban imposed by the USA government.

Trump's offer for aid comes at a moment of sky-high trade tensions between the United States and China.

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