'Be Cool!': Trump Offers Words Of Wisdom On Trade Talks With China

A salesperson stands at counters selling mobile phones produced by ZTE Corp. at an appliance store in Wuhan in central China's Hubei province in a file

President Trump says he is working with Chinese President Xi Jinping to reopen business with massive Chinese phone company ZTE, after it was blocked from doing business with the U.S.

Writing on Twitter, Mr Trump said he had issued instructions for officials to come up with a rescue plan, saying too many jobs were at risk.

The commerce department barred ZTE from purchasing components in the United States for seven years after it was caught violating the terms of a $1.2bn settlement agreed last year in which ZTE admitted illegally selling equipment that included sensitive USA parts to Iran and North Korea.

Only a couple of days after ZTE announced it was ceasing all major operations as a result of the USA ban shattering the firms supply chain, Trump revealed in a couple of tweets he and President Xi were working alongside each other to turnaround fortunes. The U.S. accused ZTE of misleading American regulators after it settled charges of violating sanctions against North Korea and Iran.

As one of the world's largest telecom equipment makers, ZTE relied on USA companies for components. American companies are estimated to provide 25 percent to 30 percent of components in ZTE's equipment, which includes smartphones and gear to build telecommunications networks.

Trump's willingness to aid ZTE in preserving Chinese jobs comes despite his condemnations of China on the campaign trail.

Trump's offer to help comes as Chinese and USA officials prepare for talks in Washington with China's top trade official Liu He to resolve an escalating trade dispute between the world's two largest economies. "But be cool, it will all work out!" Those penalties prevented United States companies selling to the Chinese concern, which is a bit of a show-stopper as ZTE is reliant on U.S. companies for all manner of parts - Qualcomm for smartphone CPUs is the tip of the iceberg. "This egregious behaviour can not be ignored".

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Lacking critical equipment, ZTE halted operations, stressing in a statement Wednesday that it is "actively communicating with the relevant US government departments in order to facilitate the modification or reversal" of the Commerce Department's order.

The US and China have also been posturing over import tariffs on particular goods, a move that could ignite a trade war.

"Imagine how the United States would feel if China had the power to crush one of our major corporations and make it go out of business", Reade said. It's surprising to see this action confirmed by the President, and such concern over Chinese jobs given that the US Department of Commerce is ostensibly protecting US interests in enforcing its technology export sanctions.

Other experts said Trump's policy reversal was unprecedented.

"This is entirely unprecedented", said Doug Jacobson, an export controls and sanctions attorney for Jacobson Burton Kelley who represents suppliers that do business with ZTE.

"Our intelligence agencies have warned that ZTE technology and phones pose a major cyber security threat", he said.

More: Spy games: Is buying a Chinese smartphone risky? Lumentum Holdings and Acacia Communications Inc. sold key optical equipment.

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