USA reaches agreement to lift ZTE ban with conditions
26 May, 2018, 07:01 | Author: Genevieve Gibbs
Commerce Department officials told Capitol Hill lawmakers that the deal would require China to pay a $1.3 billion fine, replace ZTE's board, impose national security conditions on the company's operations and require ZTE to buy components from US companies, according to reports.
The Commerce Department imposed the penalties on ZTE after USA law enforcement officials found the company broke US law by selling phones to North Korea and Iran, and then misled USA investigators about the sales.
ZTE was banned in April from buying USA technology components for seven years for breaking an agreement reached after it violated US sanctions against Iran and North Korea.
Chinese President Xi Jinping reportedly called President Donald Trump asking for relief for the Chinese telecom firm and putting an initial offer on the table, according to Fox News.
The deal, communicated to officials on Capitol Hill by the Commerce Department, requires ZTE to pay a substantial fine, place American compliance officers at the company and change its management team, the aide said.
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This is a law enforcement action being handled by Commerce.
Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio also came out against it, calling it a "great deal. for #ZTE & China".
The White House has not confirmed the deal, with spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders saying, "We'll let you know when we have an announcement on that front".
Kingsview Asset Management's Scott Martin on reports a deal was reached to save China's ZTE.
The administration could announce the deal as early as Friday, the Times reported.
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That bill was approved after the administration signaled it was reconsidering penalties against the company. US companies provide an estimated 25 percent to 30 percent of components in ZTE's equipment. "If President Trump won't put our security before Chinese jobs, Congress will act on a bipartisan basis to stop him", said Maryland Democratic Senator Chris Van Hollen, the author of the Senate provision. Would be a huge victory for President Xi, and a dramatic retreat by Pres Trump. It is publicly traded, but the largest shareholder is a Chinese government-run company.
"Both parties have come together today to strongly rebuke ZTE and the administration's soft approach". U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross is scheduled to visit China next week for another round of talks.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin famously said last weekend that the trade war is "on hold".
Trump also has said that efforts to help ZTE are meant to be part of broader trade negotiations between the United States and China, which have sputtered in recent weeks as China has resisted USA demands. On Thursday, the House passed a bill - which will now need to pass through the Senate - that would ban United States government employees from using ZTE products and stop the Defence Department from dealing with the company's vendors.
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