ZTE in jeopardy again as Senate defies Trump with potential new ban

GOP senator fails to kill provision blocking Trump's ZTE deal

But the ban on buying US parts, imposed by the department in April, will not be lifted until ZTE pays fines and places $400 million more in an escrow account in a USA -approved bank.

Days after the Trump administration agreed to restore Chinese telecom firm ZTE's access to its US parts suppliers, a bipartisan group moved to block the deal. That's the ban that President Trump and his Twitter account helped to remove.

The move enraged Republicans and Democrats who said ZTE not only worked with Iran and North Korea in violation of US sanctions, but is a threat to national security, offering Chinese intelligence operatives a way to spy on the USA through ZTE products.

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Confirming details of the USA deal, ZTE said late on Tuesday it would replace its board of directors and that of its import-export subsidiary ZTE Kangxun within 30 days of the June 8 order being signed by the United States. Little of that happened, however, and the Commerce Department enacted a seven-year suspended ban against ZTE in retaliation.

Experts say the company faces challenges in getting its factories up and running again while also overhauling its management to meet the terms of the United States deal. The ban was imposed after the company made false statements about disciplining some executives responsible for the violations. "Therefore, ZTE will most likely be able to resume operations in middle of next week". 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 Commerce Department ban arose from a controversy in which ZTE failed to punish employees who were involved in illegally shipping U.S. equipment to Iran and North Korea. The coordinator will have a staff of at least six employees funded by ZTE.

Once through the Senate, the bill would move to a conference committee with the House, which passed its own version of the bill without the amendment related to ZTE.

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"The Chinese government uses these companies for espionage and intellectual property theft, posing a direct threat to our national security and endangering the American people and our economy", said Sen.

A separate monitor was appointed to a three-year term by a US federal court in Texas last year.

Investors wiped about $3 billion off embattled Chinese telecommunications giant ZTE Corp's (0763.HK) (000063.SZ) market value as it resumed trade on Wednesday after agreeing to pay up to $1.4 billion in penalties to the USA government. "We believe ZTE will make the payment as soon as possible (we estimate in a few days)".

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