The United States is pressuring Chinese telecommunications giant ZTE to create a compliance unit staffed with American employees in exchange for any relief from a business ban, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said Thursday.
In an interview on CNBC, Ross said it was unclear if the Chinese would accept that condition, Reuters reported. But he said the company was not "in strong negotiating position" with sanctions already in effect.
President Donald Trump, at the request of Chinese President Xi Jinping, has directed the Commerce Department to explore whether to loosen a seven-year ban on ZTE doing business with American companies in order to save jobs, both in China and in the United States.
"If we do decide to go forward with an alternative, what it literally would involve would be implanting people of our choosing into the company to constitute a compliance unit," that would report back to the Commerce Department and the chair of the company board after management changes, Ross said.
"The whole key is enforcement," he added
Unlike past administrations, the Commerce Department does not publicize Ross' schedule, including speeches at public events. It only rarely releases the texts of any speeches he makes.