United States hits major Chinese tech firm with export ban

United States hits major Chinese tech firm with export ban

United States hits major Chinese tech firm with export ban

This ban was put in place after ZTE broke an agreement with the United States government that was reached after it illegally shipped U.S. technology to Iran and North Korea.

The US government banned sales by American companies to China's ZTE Corp to punish the Chinese telco equipment maker after it allegedly made false statements during an investigation into sales of its equipment to Iran.

The Department of Commerce has now learned that ZTE made false statements to the USA government during the 2016 settlement negotiations as well as the 2017 probationary period. In response, the Department of Commerce instituted a full ban on any USA exports to ZTE specifically for the next seven years. Qualcomm declined to comment.

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The U.S. government recently put pressure on telecommunications companies to stop buying Huawei networking equipment and consumer electronics products.

"If you look at ZTE it sells around 45 million smartphones per year globally, and nearly half of them have Qualcomm chips", said Neil Shah, research director at Counterpoint Research.

"ZTE misled the Department of Commerce", said Secretary Wilbur Ross.

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"NCSC assess that the national security risks arising from the use of ZTE equipment or services within the context of the existing United Kingdom telecommunications infrastructure can not be mitigated", said Ian Levy, its technical director, in a statement. Last year, AT&T pulled out of negotiations to sell Huawei phones in the US amid pressure over national security concerns.

Ross and the federal agency recently issued a denial order, which is when the Export Enforcement of the Bureau of Industry and Security refuses export privileges for particular companies and individuals.

But the bureau found the reasons behind the failure to comply are "red herrings to ... concerns that the company has repeatedly made false statements to the US government - as the company has now repeatedly admitted".

The company pleaded guilty in March 2017 to unlawful exports and was hit with USD1.2 billion in fines, the largest criminal penalty in U.S. history in an export control case.

The US' move comes amid rising concerns over a possible China-US trade war, in which more than US$100bn worth of two-way trade products will face high tariffs if the two countries fail to reach an agreement.

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