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The Latest: Trump cites ZTE’s US purchases, China trade deal

May 14, 2018

In this May 8, 2018, photo, Chinese men pass by a ZTE building in Beijing, China. President Donald Trump's weekend social media musings about China injected new uncertainty into the Washington's punishment of Chinese tech giant ZTE and planned trade talks between the two countries. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on the surprising overture to China from President Donald Trump, who said he will help the telecommunications company ZTE get “back into business,” though the company is under sanction by the U.S. (all times local):

4:45 p.m.

President Donald Trump is explaining his sudden push to allow a Chinese telecommunications company to resume importing components from the U.S.

Trump tweets that ZTE “buys a big percentage of individual parts from U.S. companies.”

He also says his push is “reflective of the larger trade deal we are negotiating with China” and his “personal relationship” with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Trump raised eyebrows over the weekend when he tweeted that he and Xi were “working together” to give ZTE “a way to get back into business, fast,” saying too many jobs in China are at stake.

The U.S. Commerce Department last month blocked ZTE from importing American components for seven years. The U.S. accused ZTE of misleading American regulators over sanctions against North Korea and Iran.

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3:05 p.m.

The White House says Chinese concerns over U.S. sanctions on a Chinese telecom company have “been brought up at a number of levels” during U.S.-China talks.

White House spokesman Raj Shah tells reporters the sanctions against ZTE are “a significant issue of concern to the Chinese government.”

And he says the president has asked Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross to look into it “consistent with laws and regulations.”

Trump had tweeted over the weekend that he and China’s Xi Jinping were “working together to give massive Chinese phone company, ZTE, a way to get back into business, fast” because “Too many jobs in China” were being lost.

The U.S. government cut off ZTE’s access to American suppliers in April in a case involving illegal exports to North Korea and Iran.

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12:55 p.m.

A slew of technology companies are climbing in early trading after President Donald Trump appeared to lobby on behalf of ZTE, a Chinese telecom company that has been sanctioned by the U.S.

The U.S. government cut off ZTE’s access to American suppliers in April in a case involving illegal exports to North Korea and Iran. Early this month ZTE halted core operations.

Trump said on Twitter that he is working with Chinese President Xi Jinping to help ZTE because many jobs in China are at stake.

Companies that do business with ZTE reversed some of their losses from last month.

Optical components maker Acacia Communications jumped 11 percent and optical communications company Oclaro rose 6.8 percent. Fiber optic component supplier Finisar gained 2.3 percent and chipmaker Xilinx added 3.8 percent.

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