Congressman Robert Pittenger

Representing the 9th District of North Carolina
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Pittenger commends Trump for holding China accountable

Mar 7, 2017
Press Release





WASHINGTON – Today, Chinese telecom firm ZTE Corporation agreed to pay an $892 million fine and plead guilty to violating U.S. law for selling embargoed equipment to an Iranian government-controlled entity which could be used to oppress human rights. 

Congressman Robert Pittenger (NC-09) has worked since April 2016 to urge the Commerce Department to punish this misconduct, including writing a letter to then-Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker which was co-signed by 22 additional Members of Congress.

“President Obama knew about ZTE for four years and incredibly chose to suspend sanctions.  President Trump has been in office two months, and already ZTE has pled guilty and agreed to a substantial fine.  This is genuine accountability on behalf of hardworking Americans.

“ZTE is just one example of questionable communist Chinese trade practices which unfairly undermine America’s economy and basic human rights.  China does not play by our rules, and we must be vigilant against potential national security risks associated with Chinese investments that may be controlled or heavily influenced by China’s communist leadership,”
said Congressman Pittenger.

Click here to read Congressman Pittenger’s April 2016 letter to then-Commerce Secretary Pritzker.

In 2012, ZTE violated U.S. export controls by selling embargoed equipment which would enable the Iranian government to monitor and control all electronic communication within its borders.  ZTE Corporation maintains close ties with the Chinese government, which is the number one global state-sponsor of corporate cyber-espionage and malicious cyber-attacks.

Last year, Congressman Pittenger led a successful bipartisan effort to request a Government Accountability Office (GAO) review of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), which hasn’t been substantially updated since the 1970s.  At Congressman Pittenger’s request, GAO is currently examining whether CFIUS statutory and administrative authorities have kept pace with the rapidly evolving national security landscape.