US, China reach $1.4bn sanctions deal over ZTE

The United States and China have reached a deal that allows the Chinese telecommunications giant ZTE stay in business in exchange for paying an additional $1 billion in fines and agreeing to let US regulators monitor its operations.

On Thursday, Ross told CNBC that ZTE had agreed to pay the $1 billion penalty and to bring in a us team to oversee the company's compliance.

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

Mr Ross emphasised that the agreement was separate from trade negotiations between the United States and China.

The company has agreed in principle to a settlement that would lift the Commerce Department ban preventing United States companies from doing business with ZTE, according to a Reuters tweet. They claim they underestimated how important US technology was to ZTE's products. Further fees could be assessed for a grand total as much as $1.7 billion. The gear maker pleaded guilty a year ago in federal court in Texas for conspiring to violate USA sanctions to Iran.

The fine announced today comes on top of $892 million ZTE has already paid for breaking USA sanctions by selling equipment to North Korea and Iran.

ZTE has also been a big smartphone vendor in the US, with products sold by companies like AT&T (T), Verizon (VZ) and T-Mobile (TMUS).

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross banned US companies from doing business with ZTE in April, after his agency learned that ZTE had not followed through on commitments made back in 2016.

The company paid $892 million in fines, with an additional $300 million suspended to encourage compliance with the settlement.

The Commerce Department action came after President Trump tweeted earlier this month that he planned to help ZTE because "too many jobs in China" would otherwise be lost.

The ban in effect nearly destroyed ZTE as it now relies on many components from American companies.

USA companies Qualcomm (QCOM) and Intel (INTC) account for 43 percent of the materials used in ZTE's Chinese-made handsets and networking equipment, according to tech research firm IDC. "The ZTE case was a thorn in the side for China".

Both Republicans and Democrats criticized Trump's willingness to make a deal on ZTE.

ZTE did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

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. Smaller makers of optical components, including Oclaro and Acacia, rely more heavily on ZTE's business.

Thursday's agreement was "a prerequisite for making broader progress", DeBusk said.