Today a U.S. Commerce Department spokesman said that an agreement is pending between the United States and ZTE that would see ZTE pay a hefty fine and in exchange be allowed to purchase crucial components again.
Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said Thursday that the Trump administration has a struck a deal with Chinese telecom giant ZTE.
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In April, the Commerce Department barred ZTE from importing USA components for its cell phones and other telecom equipment for seven years, a penalty imposed for allegedly deceiving US regulators after it settled charges last year of sanctions violations.
The compliance team will be in place for 10 years and monitor "on a real-time basis" ZTE's compliance with U.S. export control laws, the Commerce Department said in a release announcing the settlement. 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. Sixty percent of the components used in ZTE's flagship Axon M phone are from USA suppliers. The deal also includes a new 10-year ban that is suspended unless there are future violations.
Noting that the deal imposed the strictest compliance ever on any company, American or foreign, Ross added: "We are literally embedding a compliance department of our choosing into the company". We imposed a work team chosen by us within the company, financed by it and subordinated to the new executives, to closely monitor their activities, said the high official in the Squawk Box program of such television station. "They will pay for those people, but the people will report to the new chairman", Ross said in a " Squawk Box " interview.
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Under the terms of the settlement, ZTE is paying an immediate $1B fine, on top of the existing $892M in fines they've already paid related to their misconduct in this case. Overall this an unprecedented agreement with the BIS in both the size of the fines and the overall scope of the compliance monitoring.
U.S. lawmakers on Thursday renewed vocal objections to lifting the sanctions, saying the company posed an "espionage risk" to the United States in addition to having violated its sanctions on Iran and North Korea. "When it comes to China, despite his tough talk, this deal with ZTE proves the president just shoots blanks".
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