The US government believes ZTE mobile phones are used by China for espionage. Photo: iStock

US President Donald Trump was planning to try to persuade lawmakers on Wednesday that Washington is already coming down hard enough on Chinese telecommunications company ZTE Corp for violating sanctions by hitting it with a $1.4-billion fine and forcing it to change its management, said an administration official.

Trump hopes to convince members of Congress to soften a provision in defense policy legislation that would reimpose a ban on ZTE doing business with its American suppliers, a move that would effectively shut down the company.

The Senate’s 85-10 vote to pass the defense measure on Monday triggered a 27 % fall in ZTE stock on the Hong Kong exchange.

The effort to stop Trump’s deal to lift the severe sanction on China’s second-largest telecom equipment manufacturer has united Democrats and many Republicans, who believe the telecom giant poses a national security threat to America.

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