ZTE reportedly signs deal that would end export ban

Virginia Carson
June 7, 2018

ZTE past year settled criminal and civil charges in connection with its violation of USA sanctions on Iran and North Korea.

James Rockas, a spokesperson for the Commerce Department, says that "no definitive agreement has been signed by both parties", but it sure does look like things are moving in the right direction for ZTE.

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross banned USA companies from doing business with ZTE in April, after his agency learned that ZTE had not followed through on commitments made back in 2016. ZTE, the fourth-largest smartphone maker in the United States by market share, "buys a big percentage of individual parts from USA companies". This compromise would allow the company to once again use USA -made components in their products-although at a large cost. A ZTE spokesman couldn't be reached for comment.

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Though some Trump administration officials attempted to frame the ZTE sanctions as a separate national security issue, the president himself appeared to pull the discussions into the broader talks over trade. Reuters stated that while ZTE has signed onto the settlement "in principle", it has not yet signed the current amended agreement. Last month, Trump tweeted that he was looking for a way for ZTE to "get back into business, fast" because there were "too many jobs in China lost" from ZTE's shutdown.

ZTE will have to pay a $1B penalty plus put $400M in escrow to cover future violations and embed a US-picked compliance team.

As part of the deal, sources said, ZTE promised to replace its board and executive team in 30 days. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer told Reuters he thought Congress should immediately take action to try to block the deal.

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A new report claims ZTE has signed a preliminary agreement with the USA government that would allow it to once again use parts from US phone suppliers.

Fox News foreign policy analyst Kiron Skinner and Wall Street Journal editorial page writer Jillian Melchior on how the Trump administration reached a deal with Chinese company ZTE. Smaller makers of optical components, including Oclaro and Acacia, rely more heavily on ZTE's business.

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