back to article ZTE to USA: Sure, ban us, but you cannot afford such victories

ZTE has hit back at the United States’ newly-imposed ban on American companies selling to the Chinese networking vendor. The US Department of Commerce issued the ban on April 16th, claiming that investigations by its Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) found ZTE has lied about its dealings with Iran and North Korea, rewarded …

  1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

    It is unacceptable that BIS insists on unfairly imposing the most severe penalty on ZTE even before the completion of investigation of facts

    That is the standard today. Shut up and accept the penalty you nasty user of chemical weapons. Oh, sorry wrong meeting, nasty seller of equipment to Iran.

  2. mark l 2 Silver badge

    From my understanding of the sanctions on Iran, it is to stop them being able to build nuclear weapons. So i fail to see how stopping them buying routers and other telecoms equipment from ZTE is going to help with curbing their nuclear program.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Protectionism

        Maaayyybe. But US companies are also very much dependent on China, both as a supplier and as a still fast growing market. And China is not afraid of sponsoring local stuff until US companies cave in to their demands. Remember how state-sponsored Red Flag Linux was used as a ploy to get access to Windows XP source code, and ditched right after that mission was accomplished. And that was a decade ago, now they're actually building their own CPUs for their supercomputers.

        Trying to use a monopoly on *software* to enforce economic superiority sounds silly. Software is more easily duplicated.that hardware. And China having just started to implement IP regulations, is not likely to hesitate to ignore them again if the US starts playing against the rules.

      2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Protectionism

        "Basically, the US has a monopoly of all smartphones and is prepared to use it in trade wars."

        The basis of Android is open source, ZTE is able to use that and add its own cruft additional features. Manufacture takes place outside the US. Components are available outside the US. Own brand application repositories AKA Play Stores can be hosted outside the US.

        "Trade wars are good and easy to win" vs "Those who do not learn their history are condemned to repeat it".

        1. Dan 55 Silver badge

          Re: Protectionism

          The only alternative to Play Store and Play Services which has (barely) enough momentum in the western world is Amazon, so ZTE are back to square one.

          1. Lars Silver badge
            Happy

            Re: Protectionism

            @Dan 55

            There is no need to forget or downplay the Alibaba Group, incl. Alibaba.com and AliExpress. A tenth of Amazon but growing.

            Regarding the earlier comments about US monopoly on smart phones I have a feeling it would be easier for the Chinese to put together one with domestic parts than it would be for the USA. Especially now that they have ARM. Then again I don't see any intelligence in any trade wars. This is not to say I don't understand the US concern but if you import more than you export you will always have a problem and there is newer a short term remedy for that problem.

          2. Grikath Silver badge

            Re: Protectionism

            Dan 55 :"The only alternative to Play Store and Play Services which has (barely) enough momentum in the western world is Amazon, so ZTE are back to square one."

            Interesting... Last time I checked store apps and services and... can be individually installed by the user. Pretty much regardless of make/model/etc. So unless Uncle Sam has found a way to strongarm providers into specifically blocking a brand or model phone, I can't really see how these sanctions would stop anyone using any store imaginable on a ZTE phone.

            1. Dan 55 Silver badge

              Re: Protectionism

              Last time I checked store apps and services and... can be individually installed by the user. Pretty much regardless of make/model/etc. So unless Uncle Sam has found a way to strongarm providers into specifically blocking a brand or model phone, I can't really see how these sanctions would stop anyone using any store imaginable on a ZTE phone.

              Google is starting to block GApps on 'uncertified' devices, but you can register an exemption for ROMs

              Uncle Sam's tantrum means Google can't certify ZTE phones.

              If it hasn't got gapps it's not selling in the west.

              I can't see ZTE supplying plain AOSP phones and grandad unlocking the bootloader and installing gapps on it followed by registering the device ID with Google as a sustainable business model.

              1. JohnFen Silver badge

                Re: Protectionism

                "If it hasn't got gapps it's not selling in the west"

                Perhaps, but selling in the west is not a requirement to have a successful business.

                1. Dan 55 Silver badge

                  Re: Protectionism

                  Indeed. Presumably ZTE started selling in the west for a reason, though.

                  1. JohnFen Silver badge

                    Re: Protectionism

                    Well, sure... like all major companies, they want to address the largest possible markets. All of them, if at all possible. But selling in western market is gravy rather than an existential issue.

        2. Smooth Newt
          Stop

          Re: Protectionism

          "Basically, the US has a monopoly of all smartphones and is prepared to use it in trade wars."

          I don't think any smartphones are manufactured in the US. Almost all of them are made in Asia, along with most of the electronics and other components. And e.g. Samsung is a South Korean company and Motorola Mobility is owned by Lenovo, which is Chinese.

        3. Pseu Donyme

          Re: Protectionism

          >The basis of Android is open source ...

          Nominally, yes, Android is open source, but actually Google has a monopoly* on it akin to Microsoft's on PC OS: Google has perverted the openness of the system by creating/moving APIs that many apps depend on into proprietary components outside of the AOSP proper, moreover, Google has the only viable app store for Android.

          Microsoft's becoming monopoly on PC operating systems depended on the "network effect" where a product or service becomes more valuable the more users it has, which happens because of the closed feedback loop: more/better software available for Windows -> more Windows users -> writing Windows software becomes a better proposition for developers (than writing for competing platforms) -> more/better software available for Windows ... This soon results in a natural monopoly which is practically impossible for a competitor to challenge.

          With Android Google not only has an OS monopoly akin to Microsoft's as such, but this is reinforced by its app store monopoly (Microsoft is working on the latter for Windows as well, but not quite there yet). Google's paying for Android and the related services from its advertising revenue makes it even more infeasible for a competitor to succeed and therefore one is unlikely to even emerge: for Google Android is good business as it helps them to rake in advertising revenue, for a potential competitor not so much as it would have to sell the OS as such or embed the cost into price a physical product thereby making those more expensive which means they cannot really compete (as Android is "free"**).

          * technically, an overwhelmingly controlling market position, colloquially a monopoly (which is close enough as it is equivalent to an absolute monopoly for most intents and purposes)

          ** not really free, of course: 1) the consumers ultimately pay for it in higher costs of advertised products and services (only they pay more as there are middlemen) 2) they also pay with their information / loss of privacy and 3) with having to put up with commercial propaganda (=advertising) i.e. getting actively manipulated and misled, which 4) is a systemic problem in a market economy depending on well-informed parties to work efficiently (hence, again, resulting in actual monetary cost because of less efficient economy due to a group of market parties actively working on consumers to be less than well-informed in their decisions)

          1. JohnFen Silver badge

            Re: Protectionism

            "Google has perverted the openness of the system by creating/moving APIs that many apps depend on into proprietary components outside of the AOSP proper"

            Well, Google is trying to pervert it and has made significant progress in that direction, but they haven't yet succeeded. There are still quite a lot of apps that don't depend on Google's components, and many developers intend to keep it that way with their projects.

            "Google has the only viable app store for Android."

            Google has the most popular, but I don't use their app store and get along just fine using a couple of alternatives. So I'd say there are other viable ones. And it's easy to set up even more.

          2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            Re: Protectionism

            "moreover, Google has the only viable app store for Android."

            And it will continue to have the only viable one right up to the time when someone with backing the size of, say, the Chinese economy decides to build their own.

        4. Orv Silver badge

          Re: Protectionism

          ZTE's phones are actually remarkably cruft-free, from what I've seen. They add a few things but not nearly as much as Sony or Samsung cram in there.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Err, you missed the point

      You do not quite understand the undercurrents related to sanctions on Iran.

      There is a list of 20+ sanction acts which apply to Iran. Whenever the Israeli lobby feels like it a new one is voted or one that is currently on hold is enforced. Several of them are directly related to previous hostile acts by Iran against Israel or its interests.

      So, in theory, everyone should be able to do business with Iran now it is not under nuclear sanctions. In practice, if you try you get served a violation notice as you are guaranteed to break one of the remaining 20 acts. This is not going to stop any time soon and the fault with this is largely Iranian.

      They are the last hold-out in the Middle East to openly deny Israel's right to existence. That is delusional. Denying a nuclear state with an arsenal containing 200 tactical and strategic nuclear weapons is a recipe for WW3. In the specific case of Israel, it also quite rightfully gets half of the world against you while giving you nothing in return.

      Does Iran like it or not Israel's existence is a fact and it is not changing any time soon. If they want the sanctions rigmarole to end they should start by sitting at the negotiation table with someone from there. It cannot be Netanyahu as he is almost hell bent on squashing Iran as Iran is hell-bent on squashing Israel.

      Back to the ZTE sanctions. The specific sanctions are due to ZTE stupidity. They were supposed to be penalizing the executives working on Iran deal. They gave them bonuses instead. There is absolutely no other violation at present - that is the sole reason for the 7 years enforcement notice.

      They should take a leaf from the Russian book. When the Russian captured the codebooks off the Magdeburg in WW1 (ones they shared with the Antanta), admiral Essen handed the entire diving team a penalty for "appallingly sloppy work" and docked a month of their wages. All public. Except the fact that a "private donor" paid them double the wages for the month and they all got two weeks of holiday. That's how you do it.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Err, you missed the point

        You don;t really know what the sanctions are all about do you?

        - Its the same reason the UK is currently "blaming" Russia for a fake chemical weapons attack in Syria.

        - Its the same reason "Trump" is pushing so hard to get Russia/South America/China out of the US

        - Its the same reason the Saudi's have gone quiet and "fallen in line"

        Money. More specifically, the BRICS economies have swapped from a US$/Petro$ backed currency, to one backed by gold.

        Do your research and open your eyes

        /AC for obvious reasons of "Russian retaliation" from MI5/6

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Black Helicopters

          Re: Err, you missed the point

          "/AC for obvious reasons of "Russian retaliation" from MI5/6"

          Yes because they would bother with an AC (who of course if far from one) posting on a forum.

          1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

            Re: Err, you missed the point

            Yes because they would bother with an AC

            Yeah - that's what "they" (TINT) want you to think..

            (It's paranoia all the way down!)

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Err, you missed the point

        Do you have other gems on morals, laws and ethics?!?

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "So i fail to see how stopping them buying routers and other telecoms equipment from ZTE is going to help with curbing their nuclear program."

      Maybe Iran's nukes have Bluetooth? Cause everything is better with Bluetooth!

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I've sympathy with ZTE and the American public on this one.

    All they have done is shot themselves in the foot, then smiled to show it didn't hurt and prove it was in fact good for them.

    We live in f*cked up times..

    If "nationalist" want to fight, fine, let's stick all of them (and there followers) on a deserted island and then they can settle it amongst themselves! Whilst letting the rest of us live in peace... We'll even be kind enough to air drop guns and food them.

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge

      I suspect that part of the problem stems from the guy at the top and coupled with buzz phrases and a lack of understanding is pushing us down this road. Yes, make the US great, but building a plant to produce anything from chips to phones takes time and money. The manufacturing didn't just jump to China overnight as China put money and time into building the physical plants. We here in the States, were shutting them down or making them unprofitable with piles of regulations. Some regs make sense, others not so much. And naturally, any elected official will mouth what the voters want to hear no matter how irrational it is. To restart manufacturing here in the States will take some time, a pile of money, some ingenuity, and probably a change of mindset by consumers (workers and users) and by the powers that be.

      It is a conundrum with no easy answers. Starting to produce hardware is a whole different can of worms than starting a software company. Just getting approval to build a plant can take years.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "...even implemented SAP."

    See? Nothing good ever follows from implementating SAP.

  5. pro-logic

    "...even implemented SAP."

    Isn't that punishment enough?

  6. HmmmYes Silver badge

    Nothings changed.

    You want to trade with the US, or even use the dollar then you trade by our rules.

    The urles are pretty clear - if the states declares xxxstan/topia/land a banned country then you dont trade or exchange dollars. Simple.

    As far as ZTE v. the States. ZTE will lose.

    ZTE is assembling phones made from Qualcom chips, using Souh Korean silicon.

    The only value add that ZTE provides is no-longer cheap fingers, easily replaced by Vietnamese, and that Red Army spy magic.

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      The only value add that ZTE provides is no-longer cheap fingers

      You seem to be misinformed: ZTE is much more than the manufacturer of cheap phones.

    2. Lars Silver badge
      Coat

      "or even use the dollar".

      Quite a rant there, but it doesn't work like that. You probably have no idea how popular the dollar is in Russia and how much is pushed around. The only way of taking full control of the dollar would be to let it tank completely, give up on the petrodollar for the petroeuro, and nobody would use it abroad, although I suppose the Russians would use it internally as before, as a piece of paper is worth as much as people agree it's worth .

      But I doubt Trump would like to wreak the dollar, although he might do it accidentally.

      The US is the world power, no doubt, but it is also a mere 330M country with an ailing, poorer and poorer middle class, due to dumb politicians, and not the "market place" it used to be.

      1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

        You probably have no idea how popular the dollar is in Russia and how much is pushed around.

        It has been mostly replaced by the Euro over time in both Russia and neighbouring states. To a point where a couple of years ago >90% of all 500Eu notes ever printed were estimated to be sitting in private hands (mostly middle and working class by the way) in Russia and ex-USSR.

        That was also the real reason to remove them from circulation - a rather feeble attempt to increase the discontent there. The whole media campaign about money laundry and organized crime around the 500Eu note was just that - PR. The only result from the removal was that Russian banks got re-capitalized right when they really needed - mid-sanctions. So the campaign failed too.

        1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

          It has been mostly replaced by the Euro over time in both Russia and neighbouring states.

          True: dollarisation is usually aligned around trading industries, and oil and gas aside, Russia isn't commodity heavy and even oil and gas are partially traded in other currencies to remove that element of currency risk. Dollars are more important in Latin America, South East Asia and much of Africa. As most of the currency is circulated locally it doesn't even matter that there are a reasonable amount of it is forged.

          If America ever does decide not to be the reserve currency of the world, it's going to have a fun time finding people willing to buy its debts. However, this currently isn't on the cards yet, though China is cautiously building out Renminbi based contracts.

        2. Lars Silver badge
          Happy

          @ Voland's right hand

          The Euro is ok on the street too, and why not, but you tend to get as much as for a dollar, speaking about experience from years ago though.

          But about the e500:

          Is the 500 euro note still legal tender?

          The ECB says the €500 banknote remains legal tender and will always retain its value. It will stop issuing the note around the end of 2018, when it will bring in new €100 and €200 banknotes.

      2. JohnFen Silver badge

        "The US is the world power, no doubt, but it is also a mere 330M country with an ailing, poorer and poorer middle class, due to dumb politicians, and not the "market place" it used to be."

        This. The US is a world power in decline, and that decline is accelerating.

        It's not written in stone, though. The US has been in worse situations in the past, and we've managed to pull out of it. We can again.

        1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

          The US is a world power in decline, and that decline is accelerating.

          It's easy to get sucked into that kind of discussion. The US still has a lot going for it, including an above average birth rate and by far the world's most advanced military capability.

          The only thing that's really changing is that the US hegemony is declining in favour of regional trading blocs such as the EU and China. But such changes will hardly seem to affect the US itself directly for quite a while. The mid-terms will decide whether Trump's buffoonery will have any significant effect. Assuming it does then US influence in Asia is likely to be diminished forever. But US companies will still continue to trade there extensively.

          1. JohnFen Silver badge

            I wasn't saying the US is a broken nation, I was just pointing out the trend line.

            "The US still has a lot going for it, including an above average birth rate and by far the world's most advanced military capability."

            While I agree that the US has a lot going for it, I wouldn't say that those two things are examples of that. The birth rate alone doesn't mean much (and too high a birth rate is a negative, not a positive), and our military capability is utterly dependent on the cooperation of the rest of the world to be sustained. Not to mention that having the most powerful military in the world can also be a minus -- it's very expensive, and if that's the only tool in your toolbelt, then other nations will, sooner or later, gang up on you. Every ex-world power in history had the most powerful military in the world in their heyday.

        2. Lars Silver badge
          Happy

          "The US is a world power in decline, and that decline is accelerating.".

          I hope Americans don't start to feel and act like that. While it's true that the USA once produced about half of what was produced in the world then we all know it's not possible today. To believe otherwise would be to be unable not to smile at the British lady who wrote - "we did it once and we can do it again". Need I tell you that she was talking about the Empire.

          The USA has had the immense advantage of a large rich internal market, something the EU has not without success, but so much later managed to partly copy.

          But what I think and hope the Americans would start to understand (many do) is that if you make the middle class just poorer and poorer then you kill that great advantage of that internal market. If people cannot afford new cars and the occasional flight then many companies, like the whole country, will end up in decline.

          To be, with delight, a bit blunt, the so-called "triple down economy" is based on the assumption that rich people wipe their arse more often than the poorer and thus they will create lots of work for a lot of lumberjacks and high technology.

          I have my doubts. The problem the Americans have is internal, not external and that goes for our British friends too. Greed is good, and then again...

      3. JohnFen Silver badge

        "But I doubt Trump would like to wreak the dollar"

        I see no reason to doubt (or believe) it. It all depends on whether he or his buddies will be able to profit more from wrecking the dollar than not. If they can, then the dollar will be squarely in their crosshairs.

        1. Orv Silver badge

          I don't think his grasp of these issues is that sophisticated. If his grasp of economics is tenuous enough that he thinks a trade deficit means we're getting cheated, how's he going to feel about the phrase "weak dollar"? In his mind's eye it'd be a scrawny weakling being bullied by other currencies.

          1. JohnFen Silver badge

            "how's he going to feel about the phrase "weak dollar"?"

            One would think -- but he's been talking about how he wants to see the dollar weakened for a good while now, so apparently that doesn't phase him much.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @Hmmm

      "You want to trade with the US, or even use the dollar then you trade by our rules."

      If only... Because we all know that if China starts to pick up on this and starts pushing some weight around then the US will be the first ones to back down and comply.

      ... or did you ignore the fact that the US is heavily in debt to China because it has lend it hundreds of millions? And did you know that China is heavily befriended with countries such as Russia and Syria (you know, the one which got bombed by the US)? And also doesn't impose any trade restrictions on Middle Eastern countries such as Iran?

      The relationship between China and Iran (or heck: any other Communistic country) had never been a problem before when it came to set out loans. Not even when communism was the root of all evil according to the US. But apparently it wasn't bad enough to accept their money in order to sort out the national debt a bit more.

      Which is another thing... You do realize that technically speaking the US doesn't even own that dollar you talk about? Because your national debt is totally (and literally!) off the scale. I'm not even joking because a few years ago they had to extend the meter which shows it because it ran out of digits.

      So... with a debt that high.. who the heck are you to make demands like this anyway? Even military might will become severely limited when other nations start pulling in debts, especially if no one will be able to pay said military anymore. Then what's going to happen?

      You seem to believe the US holds all the trump cards but trust me: it doesn't. Modern warfare is fought on the financial markets as well, and the US aren't exactly in a very good position for that wouldn't you agree?

      1. Orv Silver badge

        Re: @Hmmm

        ...did you ignore the fact that the US is heavily in debt to China because it has lend it hundreds of millions?

        While that's true, it also isn't as much leverage as you might think. These are treasury bonds, not bank loans that they can suddenly call due. About all they could do is have a fire sale on their holdings; while that would hurt the US indirectly -- the drop in price would force a rise in interest rates -- it would also hurt China, because they'd be selling into a falling market. In other words they'd probably lose tens of millions of dollars, and in exchange the US might see an economic contraction in six months to a year.

        China's investments in US debt are probably just that, investments used to park some money in a stable currency. As a way to exert pressure on the US they're really not all that effective.

        1. Jaybus

          Re: @Hmmm

          "it would also hurt China, because they'd be selling into a falling market"

          That is really an understatement. When you are the (by far) major holder of any security, a sell off is limited because it crashes it so fast. Who would they sell it to once the trend line is straight down? So, yes, it is not as much leverage as it at first appears to be. In fact, it is only leverage so long as it is kept stable. Such a sell off would crash the dollar and suddenly US goods would be the bargain import for many. Lest we forget, in spite of a trade deficit with China, the US is still the 3rd leading exporter. It could seriously cut into Chinese and EU exports. Worse, for China, it would seriously increase the cost of Chinese goods exported to the US. Combined with rising wages in China, it would be a really risky thing for them to do.

          Also, ZTE is a very minor portion of China's overall export business. It would take more than that for China to risk such a thing. After all, the US hasn't done anything that is going to seriously affect China's bottom line.

      2. JohnFen Silver badge

        Re: @Hmmm

        The debt is indeed a huge problem, but let's not forget who most of that money is owed to -- it's not China, it's US citizens.

  7. DougS Silver badge

    Why would Qualcomm drop?

    To the extent that ZTE was selling phones in markets that required Qualcomm chips (i.e. for CDMA support) their unsold phones will be sold by someone else, who will buy more chips from Qualcomm.

    Qualcomm's big problem is that no one is going to need their chips pretty soon since CDMA is going away. Verizon will be shutting off their 2G/3G networks at the end of next year (they will only activate new phones on their network after June 30th this year if they support LTE) so phones sold next year will probably begin dropping CDMA support and once they do they no longer need Qualcomm. Maybe some still choose them for the SoC, but that will be prime time for Samsung, NVidia, Rockchip etc. to start making inroads into phones sold for the US market (and Intel of course for Apple)

    That's the real reason they are dropping, and the layoffs they announced have told the market they know they're going to hurt and are preparing for it.

  8. MajDom

    A bit too much threatening nationalism there...

    The ZTE CEO also said (not mentioned in this article) "We have a strong motherland and 1.3 billion people behind us, and they provide us with the confidence and determination to overcome all kinds of difficulties."

    What's that threat with strength-in-numbers all about? Greater numbers equals greater righteousness? Big red flag there.

    1. Grikath Silver badge

      Re: A bit too much threatening nationalism there...

      Nope.. they're simply reminding Uncle Sam that their national potential market alone is about 4 times as big as the entire US. And that's not even looking at the Neighbourhood...

      The US is still working on the assumption that cutting someone off from the US market is Doomsday for a company. ZTE are politely reminding them that this situation is in the *past* , and that no amount of saber-rattling is going to change this.

      1. MajDom

        Re: A bit too much threatening nationalism there...

        He could have mentioned what his market was like and not mention a "strong motherland." People who do that betray strong nationalistic feelings, and I can't feel pity with CEOs brandishing jingoism in an argument. Especially if you have customers outside of that little superior utopia.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: A bit too much threatening nationalism there...

          I wouldn't read too much into the expression "strong motherland", if that's what you're doing. The term may have been chosen by a translator with a particular motivation, or might not mean the same to you as it meant to the person who chose it. Even if you know what the person who chose the term "meant" by it there's still the problem of a different cultural context.

          Apparently the term "zŭguó" is common in Chinese and is a compound of "ancestor" plus "country". Whether the use of the term implies nationalistic feelings is a question well beyond my competence. For all I know, Chinese people might use that term when a British person would say "domestic market".

          1. MajDom

            Re: A bit too much threatening nationalism there...

            It appears translating from Chinese is like navigating a minefield. ;)

            If he indeed meant "domestic market," the meaning becomes entirely benign and factual. If not, my nasty nationalism allergy flares up. ;)

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: A bit too much threatening nationalism there...

          @MajDom

          ZTE doesn't need to justify themselves to you or Donald.

          1. MajDom

            Re: A bit too much threatening nationalism there...

            I don't recall demanding justification anywhere. I hope you allow people to make their own judgements as how they regard a specific company.

      2. Voland's right hand Silver badge

        Re: A bit too much threatening nationalism there...

        The US is still working on the assumption that cutting someone off from the US market is Doomsday for a company.

        It is. If that cut-off includes IPR licensing.

        1. JohnFen Silver badge

          Re: A bit too much threatening nationalism there...

          "If that cut-off includes IPR licensing."

          Which only matters if you're wanting to do business with the nation that you're licensing from.

    2. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge
      Happy

      Re: A bit too much threatening nationalism there...

      MajDom,

      You're forgetting the most important fact. If all 1.3 billion people in China jump up and down at the same time, it will cause a tidal wave that will destroy California.

      ZTE are in the perfect position to enact this plot.

      Step 1: Give free ZTE phone to all Chinese people.

      Step 2: Phones ring in unison, at set time.

      Step 3: When all phones answered, recorded voice shouts "Booo!"

      Step 4: Profit!

  9. Big Al 23

    Every country has protectionism

    U.S. jobs have been eliminated via excessive Chinese imports from products produced by slave labor and in sweatshops. ZTE's deal is about theft of U.S. tech delivered to Iran. ZTE is being punished for not complying with the terms agreed to after they admitted guilt in illegally supplying the tech to Iran. This has nothing to do with protectionism.

    1. JohnFen Silver badge

      Re: Every country has protectionism

      "This has nothing to do with protectionism."

      That's not clear at all. Given that the US is ramping up on its protectionist policies, this looks like seizing on the Iran thing as an excuse to ramp them up even more.

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