Chinese phone maker ZTE saved from brink after deal with US
Chinese phone maker ZTE saved from brink after deal with US
Report Tentative ZTE Deal with U.S. Could Bring Fine to $1.7B AFP 5 Jun 2018Washington DC
10 June, 2018, 03:18
The deal exacts a $1 billion penalty from ZTE for its past sanctions violations, as well as $400 million held in escrow that will be forfeited to the U.S. should ZTE violate sanctions again. These hefty monetary fines are in addition to the $892 million fine that ZTE already paid for its original transgressions, which involved violating US sanctions by selling telecommunications equipment to Iran and North Korea.
USA goods exported to China previous year totaled US$130 billion while Chinese imports to the USA totaled US$506 billion. A Commerce Department spokesman said that "no definitive agreement has been signed by both parties".
The Chinese smartphone and telecom company ZTE will officially be allowed to do business in the US again. The government will suspend the 10-year ban but it can activate the ban if there are any violations.
The commerce secretary said he did not think the settlement of the ZTE dispute would have any impact on ongoing contentious trade and tariff talks between the USA and China, the world's two biggest economies.
We're learning about a settlement that will cost ZTE $1.4 Billion. Not only that, but the entire board and executive teams must be fully replaced within 30 days from the time of signing the agreement. The company will also have to hire a U.S. compliance team and will replace its board of directors. Following that agreement, ZTE was found to have paid out bonuses to a number of employees instead of disciplining them as previously agreed.
The deal could be a harbinger of progress in separate and fraught trade talks between the world's two largest economies although Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross on Thursday reiterated a denial that there was any connection between the two.
As part of a new agreement, the sources said, ZTE will retain another compliance contractor in addition to the three-year court-appointed monitor imposed by the plea agreement. The Chinese authorities' involvement, on the backdrop of ongoing trade negotiations with the US, have saved ZTE from almost-certain death.
The immediate ramifications of this deal are that although ZTE is becoming cash-poorer, this will allow them to resume day-to-day business operations and get the business moving again. Their function will be to monitor ZTE's compliance with USA export control laws.
In return, the United States will be suspending - but not removing - the U.S. technology export ban that has caused the company to grind to a halt to begin with. Earlier this month, Trump announced he wanted to help ZTE, as part of negotiating a trade deal with China.
ZTE supplier Oclaro Inc rose nearly 1 percent while Acacia Communications Inc was down 1.5 percent.
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