The US and China have not yet reached a deal on Chinese telecoms giant ZTE that would lift crippling sanctions against the company, top US economic advisor Larry Kudlow said today.
The preliminary deal includes a $1 billion fine against ZTE along with $400 million in escrow to cover any future violations, said sources aware of the development.
In 2018, the government placed a seven-year USA parts supply ban on ZTE, as it claimed the company had not yet disciplined 35 of its employees, which was a condition of the 2017 deal. It appears that the Trump administration is pretty bothered by the fact that ZTE wanted to replace a top executive with one from another company that was also sanctioned by the US government for being a national security threat.
The deal also includes a suspended 10-year ban on buying USA components that could be activated by any violations, people familiar with the arrangement toldReuters.
ZTE could not be reached for comment by either Reuters or the Post. The resolution of the ZTE case may clear the way for the U.S.to make progress in its high-stakes trade talks with China. Published reports suggested that the ZTE ban had become a bargaining chip in the Trump Administration's trade negotiations with China. This will allow the United States to claim a total penalty of as much as $1.7 billion.
Those measures had threatened to put ZTE out of business. This deal has been highly controversial, as a number of members of the U.S. Senate, including lawmakers from both the Republican and Democratic parties, have stated ZTE's phones are a major security threat, claiming they could be used by the Chinese government to spy on U.S. citizens. ZTE also needs to change its board and executive team in the next 30 days.
Last month, President Trump said he was prepared to rescind the ZTE export ban. ZTE has reportedly not yet signed the amended deal, but that seems like it's only a matter of time. "It would also allow unfettered site visits to verify that USA components are being used as claimed by the company".
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