The decision by President Trump and the Department of Commerce to lift ZTE’s ban on importing U.S. components drew plenty of criticism, but it seemed to mark the end of the ongoing ZTE drama. Unfortunately for the company, the ban now has a real chance of being reinstated.
Earlier this month, a group of U.S. senators (including both Democrats and Republicans) announced an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act, which would definitively block ZTE from importing U.S. technology. The NDAA, which includes the provision about ZTE, passed in the Senate today with 85 votes in favor and 10 against.
The Senate version of the bill will now be sent to committee, where senators will resolve differences between it and the House version passed in May. It’s not clear at this point if the ZTE sanctions will be in the completed version. CNBC notes the White House could still push for changes while the committee goes over the bill.
Once the bill leaves committee, President Trump must either sign it into law or veto it. Since the NDAA outlines the annual budget for the U.S. Department of Defense, it seems unlikely that the President would veto it.