May 22, 2018
Van Hollen Secures Language in Bipartisan Banking Bill to Block Trump From Walking Back ZTE Sanctions
Today U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen secured language in the bipartisan Foreign Investment Risk Review Modernization Act of 2017 to expressly prohibit the President from changing the penalties on Chinese telecommunication companies — including ZTE — that have sanctions levied against them until the Administration certifies to Congress that they have met certain conditions.
In light of the President’s announcement that he has directed the Department of Commerce to look at easing penalties imposed on the China-based company ZTE for violations that include selling sensitive U.S. technologies to Iran and North Korea in violation of U.S. sanctions laws, this could not come at a more important time. The reported negotiations of a possible resolution between the United States and China on ZTE do nothing to address the fact that the Chinese-based company has repeatedly violated our laws, failed to comply with U.S. investigations, and poses a serious and grave threat to our national security.
“We know ZTE is a repeated and flagrant violator of U.S. laws – there’s absolutely no question of their culpability. Yet the President of the United States is fighting to protect jobs in China at a company that may be spying on Americans and has been sanctioned by our government. This is deeply troubling, regardless of your political party,” said Senator Van Hollen. “I want to thank my colleagues on both sides of the aisle for working with me on this amendment, as well as language in the managers’ amendment putting Congress on the record in opposition to this. We must continue to work to stop the President from absolving ZTE of its many transgressions in the interest of Chinese jobs.”
The Senator’s amendment would expressly prohibit the President from changing the penalties on Chinese telecommunication companies that have sanctions levied against them until the Administration certifies to Congress that the entity is no longer violating U.S. law, has not done so for a year, and is fully cooperating with investigators. Additionally, the managers’ amendment includes Senator Van Hollen’s sense of Congress that penalties imposed on an individual or entity pursuant to a determination that the individual or entity has violated U.S. sanctions laws or export controls should not be modified for reasons that are unrelated to national security. Both passed with bipartisan support.
The full text of the amendment is below.
Sec ____. PROHIBITION ON MODIFICATION OF CIVIL PENALTIES UNDER EXPORT CONTROL AND SANCTIONS LAWS.
(a) IN GENERAL. - Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the Executive Office of the President may not modify any civil penalties, including denial orders, implemented by the Government of the United States with respect to Chinese telecommunication companies pursuant to a determination that the companies have violated an export control or sanctions law of the United States until the date that is 30 days after the President certifies to the appropriate committees of Congress that the individual or entity -
(1) has not, for a period of one year, conducted activities in violation of the laws of the United States; and
(2) is fully cooperating with investigations into the activities of the individual or entity conducted by the Government of the United States, if any.
(b) APPROPRIATE COMMITTEES OF CONGRESS DEFINED. - In this section, the term "appropriate committees of Congress" means -
(1) the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs and the Committee on Foreign Relations of the Senate; and
(2) the Committee on Financial Services and the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the House of Representatives.
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