Commerce Secretary: US reaches deal with China's ZTE

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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.

According to a report from Reuters, ZTE has reached a deal with U.S. authorities that would lift a ban that prevents it from buying parts from United States suppliers.

The deal allows ZTE to continue to do business in the USA while paying a $1 billion penalty for violating sanctions against Iran.

ZTE shut down its operations at the beginning of May following Commerce's decision to ban it from purchasing equipment from US companies.

The agreement does not take effect until ZTE pays the $1 billion fine and puts the $400 million in escrow, which is likely to take at least a few days, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Ross said the deal was finalized at 6 a.m. on Thursday morning in a 23-page agreement.

Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer called for Congress to reverse the decision, which is unlikely.

The Commerce Department denial order prevented ZTE from utilizing key technology from United States suppliers like Qualcomm and and Broadcom, making it hard to produce smartphones or telecommunications equipment.

A ZTE spokesman couldn't be reached for comment.

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The company must also replace its entire management team and its board of directors, according to Ross.

Last year, ZTE paid over $2.3 billion to USA suppliers, a senior ZTE official told Reuters last month.

Zhongxing Telecommunications Equipment (ZTE) Corporation is a Chinese company headquartered in Shenzhen, Guangdong, China.

USA senators said they plan legislation to roll back the agreement. The agreement is also expected to call for other concessions from ZTE, including new board members and increased USA oversight of its business. The gear maker pleaded guilty previous year in federal court in Texas for conspiring to violate US sanctions to Iran.

"It doesn't really move the ball forward on the deeper structural issues in U.S".

The agreement also follows a reported offer by Beijing to ramp up purchases of American goods and thereby drive down the yawning trade deficit between the world's two largest economies - moving part-way towards meeting a key demand of US President Donald Trump in ongoing trade talks. Specifically, Bloomberg reported that the USA might lift the export ban if Chinese regulators approve Qualcomm's $43 billion bid for NXP.

The Chinese Commerce Ministry said Thursday that some progress was made in talks that ended last weekend.

A US investigation into ZTE was launched after Reuters reported in 2012 the company had signed contracts to ship hardware and software worth millions of dollars to Iran from some of the best-known usa technology companies. "The ZTE case was a thorn in the side for China ..."

The sanctions have prevented ZTE from receiving semiconductors and other components from suppliers including Qualcomm, Intel and Micron Technology, optical component suppliers Maynard, Acacia, Oclaro and Lumentum, as well as software suppliers Microsoft and Oracle, among others.