China's ZTE to pay $1 billion fine to end U.S. sanctions

10 June, 2018, 11:20 | Author: Teresa Adams
  • ZTE signs preliminary agreement to lift US ban

The US blocked ZTE's access to US suppliers in April, saying the company violated a 2017 sanctions settlement related to trading with Iran and North Korea and then lied about the violations.

The deal includes a $1 billion penalty against ZTE and a compliance team, chosen by the U.S., will be embedded at the company, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross told CNBC Thursday morning.

After facing a near-certain death earlier this year when Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross imposed crippling sanctions on the company for violating an agreement with the USA government, a deal brokered in part by President Donald Trump has saved the Chinese company.

ZTE pleaded guilty past year to conspiring to evade USA embargoes by buying US components, incorporating them into ZTE equipment and illegally shipping them to Iran, paying almost $900 million (670.54 million pounds) in fines.

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In addition to the more than $1.8 billion in combined fines, ZTE will be required to retain a team of specially assigned compliance coordinators answerable to BIS for a period of 10 years.

ZTE's survival has been a topic of discussion in high-level U.S.

A US-appointed compliance team will monitor the arrangement, which if broken will see ZTE surrender the $400 million and be banned from the U.S. component market for ten years.

In line with recent speculation, the tech giant agreed to what Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross aptly labeled as "the strictest and largest settlement fine that has ever been brought by the Commerce Department against any violator of export controls".

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ZTE has promised to replace its board and executive team as part of the deal. Ross added that if the company violates the new agreement, it could also be put under denial of export privileges again, too.

Now, though, Reuters is reporting that a deal has been negotiated that would allow ZTE to get back in business with the export ban behind them, but with some big changes.

ZTE has already paid a $1.19 billion fine for violating United States sanction. The president's extraordinary intervention in an enforcement matter drew widespread criticism on Capitol Hill from members of both parties.

DWYER: Today's deal came less than two months after the original seven-year ban was announced and less than one month after President Trump tweeted that he wanted to help ZTE survive.

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"We will closely monitor ZTE's behavior", said Ross in the release. ZTE paid 190 million dollars for such violations, but the dispute continued because the Commerce Department alleged that the company cheated the regulators and did not sanction the employees who authorized the transactions.

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