ZTE signs preliminary agreement to lift U.S. ban


Ross had been instructed to look into easing restrictions on ZTE by President Trump, who had received a personal request from Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Commerce had imposed a seven-year ban on ZTE doing business in the U.S.in April as part of a package of penalties levied after the company sold American-made products to Iran, a violation of USA sanctions. Last year, the company was already fined $1.2 billion for violating U.S. sanctions. An employer of 75,000 people, ZTE was crippled by a Commerce Department ban on American firms selling it electronic parts.

The probe found that ZTE had conspired to evade U.S. embargoes by buying United States components, incorporating them into ZTE equipment and illegally shipping them to Iran. But the first official announcement came this morning from U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross.

As part of the deal, ZTE must also allow unfettered site visits to verify that USA components are being used as claimed by the company, post calculations of the US components in its products on a public website, and replace its board and executive team in 30 days, sources said. These collectively are the most severe penalty BIS has ever imposed on a company. But it's a huge company in Asia. As a result, the company, which was the world's fourth-largest smartphone manufacturer in 2012, was forced to halt production on its products.

ZTE shut down its operations at the beginning of May following Commerce's decision to ban it from purchasing equipment from USA companies.

It idled factories and halted trading of its stock on Chinese exchanges.

Ross said the agreement will serve as a "very strong deterrent, not only for them, but for other potential bad actors". It said on May 9 that it had halted most of its operations because of the ban.

DWYER: Samm Sacks is a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

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They both were part of a bipartisan effort behind the amendment.

The ZTE settlement comes days after Beijing reportedly offered to ramp up purchases of American goods to help cut the yawning trade imbalance with the United States - moving part-way towards meeting a major demand of US President Donald Trump.

The bill was introduced by Senator Chris Van Hollen, the Maryland Democrat, with backing from Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer and Republican Tom Cotton of Arkansas.

Qualcomm Chief Executive Officer Steven Mollenkopf said on Thursday he hoped the ZTE agreement would pave the way for the NXP approval. And so he, you know, pulls some other kind of deal.

Several US lawmakers have warned against easing sanctions on ZTE, citing national security concerns.

According to reports out of China, ZTE has been making plans to resume manufacturing within hours from the official lift of the usa embargo, which deprived it of crucial us -made components including SoCs, radio chips, and software.

ZTE could not be reached for comment by either Reuters or the Post.