U.S. suspends export privileges to China's ZTE

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The North American headquarters of ZTE is in Richardson.

The Department of Commerce has now determined ZTE made false statements to BIS in 2016, during settlement negotiations, and 2017, during the probationary period, related to senior employee disciplinary actions the company said it was taking or had already taken.

ZTE used third-party companies to hide the export of USA components to the sanctioned countries, and then hid the information by "sanitizing databases" with information on the sales.

ZTE, which devised elaborate schemes to hide the illegal activity, agreed to plead guilty after the Commerce Department took actions that threatened to cut off its global supply chain. "This egregious behavior can not be ignored", Secretary Ross said.

Trump on Monday accused China along with Russian Federation of devaluing their currencies, opening a new front in his argument that foreign governments are exploiting the U.S. The official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said the timing of the ZTE action was unfortunate because it could seem related to US steps to stop alleged theft of intellectual property.

Last year, ZTE plead guilty in a federal court for conspiring to illegally ship USA goods and tech to Iran, violating U.S. sanctions. It paid $890 million in fines and penalties, with an additional penalty of $300 million that could be imposed.

The company pleaded guilty in March 2017 to unlawful exports and was hit with $1.2 billion in fines, the largest criminal penalty in U.S. history in an export control case.

The US government's investigation into sanctions violations by ZTE followed reports by Reuters in 2012 that the company had signed contracts to ship millions of dollars' worth of hardware and software from some of the best known US technology companies to Iran's largest telecoms carrier. The company is making personnel changes and instituting new compliance procedures, he said.

China is trying to gain access to sensitive U.S. technologies and intellectual properties through telecommunications companies, academia and joint business ventures, United States senators and spy chiefs had warned.

Denial Orders are issued by the Assistant Secretary for Export Enforcement of the Bureau of Industry and Security, denying the export privileges of a company or individual.

ZTE didn't respond to calls seeking comment that were made after business hours in China.