Monday, 18 June, 2018

Senate blocks ZTE deal in rebuke of Trump deal

White House to block Congress from stopping ZTE deal Modal Trigger Getty Images
Sammy Stanley | 13 June, 2018, 19:42

The company admitted in 2017 exporting telecoms equipment to Iran and North Korea in violation of USA regulations.

The Chinese company has been accused of violating USA sanctions by selling sensitive equipment to both North Korea and Iran.

Acacia Communications Inc's supply agreement with ZTE Corp will remain suspended until the U.S. Department of Commerce implements its recent settlement with the Chinese firm, the U.S. company said on Tuesday.

The ban, which has prevented ZTE from buying the US components it relies on to make smartphones and other devices, will not be lifted until ZTE pays a fine and places $400-million more in an escrow account in a USA -approved bank.

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross was on Capitol Hill on Monday evening to speak with senators behind closed doors about the details of the ZTE deal, in a meeting that began shortly after the decision to include the amendment blocking the president's deal was announced.

Acacia said the settlement may ultimately allow it to resume ties with ZTE.

Raccoon scales Minnesota office tower, leaving public in suspense
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According to a Reuters estimate based on company filings and a source with knowledge of the matter, that could result in about 40 senior executives being replaced including its 14-person board, based on its current management structure. The idea of ZTE being used as a bargaining chip in trade negotiations with China angered lawmakers, who view the company as a national security issue. Cotton said the president won't veto the bill "because the bill pertains many other critical priorities". The terms of that deal stipulate that the company has to install a whole new set of directors, embed a US-chosen compliance department and pay a $1 billion penalty. The coordinator will have a staff of at least six employees funded by ZTE. Its Shenzhen stock slid by the daily maximum of 10%.

The Hong Kong-listed shares of ZTE slid as much as 41 per cent to HK$14.98, their lowest in a year, following a two-month trading suspension.

There is also a risk that the Trump administration's move to lift the ban on ZTE could be undercut by Congress.

ZTE said Tuesday it will resume operating activities affected by the ban "as soon as practicable".

US lawmakers have attacked the agreement and planned legislation to roll it back, citing intelligence warnings that ZTE poses a national security threat.

ZTE employs 70,000 workers in China and is the fourth-largest vendor of mobile phones in the U.S.

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