ZTE reportedly signs preliminary deal to lift United States technology ban
07 June, 2018, 15:41 | Author: Billie Castillo
It's important to note that this deal is not confirmed, with Commerce Department spokesman James Rockas saying that "no definitive agreement has been signed by both parties".
Reuters reports that "ZTE promised to replace its board and executive team in 30 days". That includes $1 billion paid up front, and $400 million that will be placed in escrow, in case ZTE is found to have violated the terms of the new settlement. According to Trump administration officials, ZTE gave numerous wayward executives their full 2016 bonuses and then lied about it to the United States government. ZTE has reportedly not yet signed the amended deal, but that seems like it's only a matter of time. This year, the Commerce Department learned that several of those executives received bonuses and remained at ZTE, and that discovery prompted the export ban.
The ban had been put in place for ZTE's failure to see through the proper punishment for doing business in Iran and North Korea, and it had proved crippling, forcing the Chinese company to shut down major operations. "Congress should move in a bipartisan fashion to block this deal right away". He also said ZTE was "reflective of the larger trade deal we are negotiating with China and my personal relationship with President Xi".
The Commerce Department denial order prevented ZTE from utilizing key technology from USA suppliers like Qualcomm and and Broadcom, making it hard to produce smartphones or telecommunications equipment. The Chinese company said in June 2017 that it had fulfilled its promise, but later admitted in March 2018 that while it had fired the four senior employees, it had not disciplined or reduced bonuses for the 35 others. Further, the sources added that the Commerce Department plans to amend its 2017 settlement agreement and count the $361 million ZTE paid as a part of that.
Also as part of the deal, the company must allow audits of their sites so that it can be seen USA components are being used as claimed.
That was a serious problem for ZTE because the company is heavily dependent on U.S. components for its smartphone business.
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. But it seems ZTE is definitely in a better position now than it was just a few weeks ago.
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