China’s ZTE will pay $1B fine in deal with US

09 June, 2018, 19:19 | Author: Martin Tyler
  • ZTE signs preliminary agreement to lift US ban

It's not clear that Congress can do anything to stop the deal, though a bipartisan group of senators has signed on to legislation that would make it more hard for ZTE to operate in the U.S. Meanwhile, on the business side, some U.S. companies got a boost from the announcement.

Under the new agreement, ZTE is also subject to changes in its corporate leadership, as well as strict BIS compliance requirements. Furthermore the company will have to completely clean house on its executive team and board of directors, replacing all of the members in both of those groups.

The decision amounted to a death sentence to ZTE, which relies on US parts and which announced that it was halting operations.

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Washington and Beijing have pursued a halting series of trade talks, with Trump demanding a $200 billion reduction in its yawning trade deficit with China.

However, last month, Trump tweeted that "too many jobs in China" were being lost because of the US action and that he had instructed the Commerce Department to find a solution. It appears that ZTE could be "back in business" after being consigned to the technological wasteland for breaking last year's deal concerning illegal telecom shipments to Iran and North Korea.

The ban was imposed after ZTE failed to comply with an agreement with the Commerce Department in 2017, when it pleaded guilty in federal court in Texas to conspiring to evade USA embargoes by illegally shipping us goods and technology to Iran. While it did fire the four employees, the company admitted to making false statements about the others, handing out full bonuses. The legislation would restore penalties on ZTE for violating US sanctions against Iran and North Korea and block USA government agencies from purchasing equipment or services from ZTE or its bigger Chinese rival, Huawei Technologies. China has vowed to retaliate on everything from US soybeans to airplanes, and said it will abandon its commitments if the USA follows through on its tariff threat. ZTE has been one of the most affected companies but is close to signing an agreement to continue its collaborations with US-based technology companies, such as Qualcomm. This compromise would allow the company to once again use USA -made components in their products-although at a large cost.

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As part of a new agreement, the sources said, ZTE will retain another compliance contractor in addition to the three-year court-appointed monitor imposed by the plea agreement. The U.S.is maintaining its 10-year export ban on ZTE, but the ban is indefinitely suspended and is likely to remain suspended if ZTE complies with the U.S. trade laws.

The denial order put ZTE's future into jeopardy because it relies on USA components for so many of its products.

China last weekend reportedly offered to buy an additional $70 billion in United States goods to cut the trade deficit, moving toward meeting one of Trump's central demands on trade.

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