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Chinese firm ZTE reaches preliminary agreement with United States to restore business

10 June 2018, 03:17 | Lionel James

Report Tentative ZTE Deal with U.S. Could Bring Fine to $1.7B AFP 5 Jun 2018Washington DC

ZTE has been banned from purchasing sensitive technology from the US over its illegal sales to Iran and North Korea

He noted that if the company does violate it again, in addition to the billion dollars they are paying the U.S. up front, it would have "to put $400 million into escrow".

ZTE has agreed to a $1 billion penalty, in addition to $892 million it has already paid in penalties. That penalty was assessed following an investigation showing that ZTE had violated US sanctions and had provided technology to Iran and North Korea.

However, Commerce Department spokesman James Rockas told Reuters that "no definitive agreement has been signed by both parties".

USA companies provide an estimated 25 to 30 per cent of components in ZTE's equipment, which includes smartphones and gear to build telecommunications networks.

ZTE ceased major operations earlier this year because of the ban.

The settlement in March 2017 was reached after ZTE was found to have violated a USA trade embargo by engaging in a multi-year conspiracy to use equipment that originated in the United States for telecommunications networks in Iran.

ZTE did not respond to repeated requests for comment.

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According to Reuters, the company has agreed to pay a total of $1.7 billion in penalties in a settlement with the Commerce Department. Instead, ZTE seems to have given bonuses to those same executives.Because of this, the Department of Commerce ordered the denial of export privileges against ZTE, which also meant that American companies would no longer be able to sell equipment to ZTE.

The agreement also forces ZTE to replace its board of directors and executive team and installs a US -chosen compliance team.

However, Mr Ross stated that the ZTE agreement would not have any effect on the talks. He later tweeted the ZTE talks were "part of a larger trade deal" being negotiated with China. Their function will be to monitor on a real-time basis ZTE's compliance with USA export control laws.

According to Reuters, ZTE has signed a preliminary agreement that will lift the ban on USA companies providing ZTE with goods. Thanks to the White House, specifically the President Trump, for allowing ZTE to clean up its act. "We will closely monitor ZTE's behavior", Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said.

Under the deal, ZTE must retain a compliance team selected by the Commerce Department for 10 years.

The suppliers include Qualcomm, Broadcom, and Intel Corp, as well as smaller optical component makers Acacia Communications Incand Oclaro.

In an interview with CNBC, Ross expressed his satisfaction with the arrangement, which imposes a fine of one billion dollars to this giant of the sector and forces it to leave in trust 400 additional millions.



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