In bipartisan effort, two U.S. lawmakers ask Trump to be tough on ZTE

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Two U.S. lawmakers, including the Republican chairman of a powerful House of Representatives committee, asked President Donald Trump on Tuesday not to lift penalties on Chinese telecommunications company ZTE Corp 000063.SZ.

Trump on Tuesday floated a proposal to fine ZTE and shake up its management, as his administration considered rolling back more severe penalties that have crippled the Chinese firm. The proposal ran into immediate resistance in Congress.

In a letter to Trump seen by Reuters, Republican Representative Mike McCaul and Democratic Representative Joaquin Castro urged the president not to lift penalties imposed on ZTE for violating sanctions on Iran and North Korea.

“Lifting these penalties that were instituted after a law enforcement process would undermine the credibility of the United States sanctions,” they wrote, saying ZTE has ties to China’s military and intelligence and that giving it access to U.S. components and technology is a security risk.

McCaul is chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee and a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Castro is a member of the Foreign Affairs panel and the House Intelligence Committee.

They also said in the letter that providing a reprieve for ZTE would undermine U.S. efforts to apply pressure on Iran and North Korea, and encourage other organizations to evade U.S. sanctions.

Reporting by Patricia Zengerle; Editing by Frances Kerry