US Reaches $1 Billion Deal With ZTE

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The measure was introduced hours after Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross announced that the USA had agreed to lift the seven year ban on us companies selling components and software to ZTE.

The story began last March when ZTE lied to the US government about disciplining employees responsible for supplying, building, and operating telecommunications networks in Iran with USA -supplied components and equipment.

A U.S. Commerce Department spokesman said no definitive agreement has been signed by the two parties.

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The agreement requires ZTE to pay almost $1 billion Dollars, as well as keep $400 million of penalty in escrow, or in custody of a third party, before the Commerce Department's Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) will remove the company off of its Denied Persons List. These penalties are in addition to the $892 million in penalties ZTE has already paid to the U.S government under the March 2017 settlement agreement. "This new settlement agreement sets another record, and brings the total penalties assessed on ZTE to $2.29 billion". And the company will be required to host and pay for a US-selected compliance team that will oversee the company's compliance over the term of the agreement. Hopefully this time ZTE respects the wishes of the US government to not sell to banned countries and ultimately this may lead to China and the USA finally coming to a real agreement on the larger on-going trade discussion.

ZTE also did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Former Minnesota Republican Senator Norm Coleman represents ZTE Corp, which scored a major victory today as the US Commerce Dept. announced a deal to lift sanctions imposed on it.

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"We will closely monitor ZTE's behavior", Ross said in a statement.

And last week, the Daily Beast reported that a day after the president said he wanted to help ZTE, the tech company hired the Mercury Public Affairs firm to lobby on its behalf in Washington. It also has to pay a $1 billion fine and hold another $400 million in escrow. The company's plight has attracted huge interest in China and may prove a catalyst for the government to help Chinese firms become less dependent on the USA for fundamental technology. Key US components-such as glass from Corning, processors from Qualcomm, and software from Google's Android-were no longer available to the company, meaning it could not make many of its phones. The company was allowed continued access to the US market under the 2017 agreement.

ZTE's resuscitation with USA help has met strong resistance in Congress, where both Democrats and Trump's fellow Republicans have accused him of bowing to pressure from Beijing to help a company that has been labeled a threat to US national security. Marco Rubio tweeted the the deal "will do nothing to keep us safe from coporate and national security espionage".

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