The Pentagon bans Huawei and ZTE phones from retail stores on military bases

Discussion in 'Smartphones and Tablets' started by hmscott, May 8, 2018.

  1. hmscott

    hmscott Notebook Nobel Laureate

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    China's ZTE halts major operations following US export ban
    By KELVIN CHAN, AP BUSINESS WRITER HONG KONG — May 9, 2018, 11:57 PM ET
    https://abcnews.go.com/Technology/wireStory/chinas-zte-stops-major-operations-us-export-ban-55044175

    "Chinese telecommunications company ZTE has halted its main operations after U.S. authorities cut off its access to American suppliers as President Donald Trump steps up pressure over trade and technology issues with Beijing.

    "Major operating activities of the company have ceased" as a result of the U.S. Commerce Department "denial order" issued last month, ZTE said in a statement issued late Wednesday.

    The Commerce Department has imposed a seven-year sales ban on ZTE in a case involving exports of telecom gear to Iran and North Korea.

    ZTE, a major supplier of telecoms networks and smartphones based in southern China, earlier said the ban threatened its existence by choking off access to U.S. suppliers of key technology and components like microchips.

    The suspension came amid worsening trade tensions between the U.S. and China centered on technology-related intellectual property, though ZTE's case dates back to before President Donald Trump took office in January 2017.

    A U.S. delegation traveled to Beijing last week to discuss the brewing trade conflict with their Chinese counterparts. During the meetings, Chinese officials said they also raised their objections to ZTE's punishment with the U.S. team, who they said agreed to report them to Trump.

    ZTE "maintains sufficient cash and strictly adheres to its commercial obligations subject to compliance with laws and regulations," it said in the statement issued to the Hong Kong stock exchange. "The company and related parties are actively communicating with the relevant U.S. government departments in order to facilitate the modification or reversal of the Denial Order by the U.S. government and forge a positive outcome in the development of the matters."

    The announcement comes days after ZTE said it had asked the Commerce Department's Bureau of Industry and Security to suspend the ban and had submitted extra information to bolster its case.

    U.S. authorities imposed the penalty after discovering that Shenzhen-based ZTE had misled regulators involving the illegal shipments to North Korea and Iran. The company paid a $1.2 billion fine in the case but failed to discipline employees involved and paid them bonuses instead.

    The company has more than 70,000 employees and has supplied networks or equipment to some of the world's biggest telecoms companies."
     
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    hmscott Notebook Nobel Laureate

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    Hikvision, Dahua and Hytera target of government technology ban
    The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill last week that includes an amendment that prohibits federal agencies from purchasing video surveillance equipment from several China-based firms, including Hikvision, Dahua and Hytera Communications.
    BY JOEL GRIFFIN ON MAY 29, 2018
    http://www.securityinfowatch.com/ar...nd-hytera-target-of-government-technology-ban

    "In a move that seeks to allay cybersecurity concerns surrounding the government’s use of technologies manufactured by Chinese companies, the U.S. House of Representatives last week passed a bill that prohibits federal agencies from purchasing video surveillance equipment from several China-based firms, including Hikvision, Dahua and Hytera Communications.

    In a statement provided to SecurityInfoWatch.com, Jeffrey He, president of Hikvision USA Inc., and Hikvision Canada Inc., said their products “adhere to global cybersecurity standards” and that they would “vigorously defend” the company against “unproven accusations.” Dahua also pushed back against the proposed ban on Tuesday, saying in a statement on its website that they are a company with a "high level of business integrity" and that they are committed to complying with "all applicable laws and regulations" of the countries in which they operate.

    The ban would not only impact branded products from the companies named but also any other manufacturers that use Hikvision, Dahua and Hytera OEM solutions. According to the bill: “By not later than 180 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, each agency shall develop a plan…(that) shall include, but not be limited to, how the agency plans to deal with the impact of white label technology on its supply chain whereby the original manufacturer of technology is not readily apparent to a purchaser or user.”

    The ban was included as part of an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act proposed by Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-Mo.) that had originally only been limited to the government’s use of technologies and services from Chinese telecom giants Huawei and ZTE.

    Earlier this month, the Pentagon announced that it was banning the sale of Huawei and ZTE phones on U.S. military bases around the globe over security concerns. The heads of the U.S intelligence and law enforcement community had previously warned consumers against the use of devices manufactured by these companies in February.
    ..."

    The very purpose of the Chinese tech company ZTE is to spy on other countries, a competitor alleges in new court documents

    Tara Francis Chan, May 31, 2018 - 18h ago
    http://www.businessinsider.com/zte-created-to-spy-according-to-new-court-documents-2018-6?r=UK&IR=T

    China’s ZTE was built to spy and bribe, court documents allege

    By Nick McKenzie & Angus Grigg
    31 May 2018 — 7:34pm
    https://www.smh.com.au/business/com...e-court-documents-allege-20180531-p4ziqd.html

    Chinese interference in New Zealand at 'critical' stage, says Canada spy report
    Thu 31 May 2018 23.38 EDT
    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2...land-at-critical-stage-says-canada-spy-report

    Trump reaches deal with China to lift sanctions on Chinese tech giant ZTE despite blowback from Democrats, GOP
    Bob Bryan, May. 25, 2018, 8:38 PM
    The Commerce Department told members of Congress that the Trump administration reached a deal to lift sanctions on Chinese phone maker ZTE.
    In exchange for easing the sanctions, ZTE will be forced to "pay a bigger fine, have to hire American compliance officers, and they have to get rid of the current ZTE management team," according to a source familiar with the arrangement.
    ZTE was facing sanctions after selling goods containing US parts to Iran and North Korea.

    http://www.businessinsider.com/trump-administration-deal-with-china-on-zte-sanctions-2018-5
     
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2018
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  3. Maleko48

    Maleko48 Notebook Evangelist

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    Makes sense. Trump is an idiot if he doesn't think there is any risk involved in dealing with Chinese manufactured hardware on a broad scale.
     
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    hmscott Notebook Nobel Laureate

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    ZTE may be fined US$1.7 billion by the Trump administration, insiders say
    The US is looking to punish and tighten control over the Chinese telecommunications company before allowing it back into business
    PUBLISHED : Saturday, 02 June, 2018, 5:16am
    UPDATED : Saturday, 02 June, 2018, 5:44am
    http://www.scmp.com/news/china/econ...ation-may-impose-more-us1-billion-penalty-zte

    "The Trump administration may soon claim as much as US$1.7 billion in penalties from ZTE Corp, as it looks to punish and tighten control over the Chinese telecommunications company before allowing it back into business, according to people familiar with the matter.

    The US Commerce Department is also seeking unfettered site visits to verify that American components are being used as claimed by ZTE, and wants it to post calculations of the US components in its products on a website, the people said.

    ZTE sidelines two more senior executives amid US-China negotiations on export ban

    China’s No. 2 telecommunications equipment maker has been crippled by a ban imposed in April on buying US components for seven years for breaking an agreement reached after it was caught illegally shipping goods to Iran and North Korea.

    The negotiations with ZTE come as US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross heads to Beijing this weekend for trade talks. One source said Washington also wants ZTE to replace its board and executive team in as soon as 30 days, but a deal still has not been finalised, and the sources cautioned that the penalties were fluid and the terms could change.

    Representatives from the Commerce Department and ZTE did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

    American companies provide an estimated 25 to 30 per cent of components in ZTE’s equipment, which includes smartphones and gear to build telecommunications networks.

    The company’s status has become an important bargaining chip in high-level trade talks between China and Washington amid reports that if the US eases up on ZTE, China will buy more American agricultural goods.

    US may place compliance officers in ZTE’s offices, Wilbur Ross says

    US President Donald Trump tweeted last month that he told Commerce Department officials to find a way for ZTE to get back into business, later mentioning a US$1.3 billion fine and changes to its board and top management as a way to penalise the company before allowing it to resume business.

    But ZTE’s possible resuscitation has met strong resistance in Congress, where both Democrats and Trump’s fellow Republicans have accused him of bowing to pressure from Beijing to help a company that has been labelled a threat to US national security.

    The company, which suspended major operations in May, desperately needs a deal to get back in business, with estimates that it has lost more than $3 billion since the April 15 ban on doing business with US suppliers, a source familiar with the matter said last week.

    The ban came after the Shenzhen-based company admitted that while it dismissed four senior employees who had been involved in the original wrongdoing, it had not disciplined 35 others by either reducing their bonuses or reprimanding them, despite statements to the contrary, senior Commerce Department officials said at the time.

    Tencent may invest in chips after the wake-up call of ZTE’s ban

    While it is expected that the administration will claim a $1.7 billion penalty for ZTE, sources said that after breaking the figure down, ZTE will likely actually pay about $1 billion. In addition, it will be asked to put $400 million in escrow, one of the people said.

    In 2017, ZTE paid $892 million in civil and criminal penalties, with an additional $300 million suspended unless there were future violations. As part of a new deal, the $300 million would go into escrow in a US bank, along with an extra $100 million, the person said.

    Furthermore, the person said, the US is expected to count $361 million in civil penalties that ZTE paid the Commerce Department last year in its $1.7 billion figure, even though that penalty was already collected as part of the $892 million.

    As part of any new agreement, the sources said, the US wants ZTE to hire a new person to police its compliance. The compliance contractor would provide oversight along with an outside monitor who was retained as part of the March 2017 guilty plea.

    The US also wants its representatives to make site visits to check ZTE’s claims about components without coordinating with Chinese government officials, as required by a non-public agreement between the countries, sources said."

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    hmscott Notebook Nobel Laureate

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    Trump administration reaches deal with China’s ZTE
    Fox Business
    Published on Jun 7, 2018
    Fox Business contributor Robert Wolf discusses why he disagrees with the Trump administration’s deal with Chinese company ZTE.


    US and China's ZTE reach a deal

    CNN
    Published on Jun 7, 2018
    Chinese smartphone maker ZTE will pay a fine of $1 billion and bring an American monitoring team on board to resolve a high-profile dispute with the United States.
     
  6. hmscott

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    Senate blocks ZTE deal in rebuke of Trump deal
    The move comes less than a week after the president entered into an agreement with telecom giant.
    by Leigh Ann Caldwell / Jun.11.2018 / 5:59 PM ET
    https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/co...rebuke-trump-deal-n882196?cid=sm_npd_nn_tw_np

    "WASHINGTON — In a major rebuke to President Donald Trump, the Senate has adopted a measure that would block the administration's deal with Chinese telecom giant ZTE, pitting the president against Congress on what many senators say is an issue of national security.

    The Senate's move comes less than a week after the administration struck an agreement with ZTE that would have kept the telecom company engaged in the U.S. market.

    The president’s deal with ZTE would have forced the company to pay a $1 billion penalty, reorganize its company and allow U.S. compliance officers in exchange for being able to sell its products inside the U.S.

    But the bipartisan senate amendment, which has been added to the must-pass National Defense Authorization Act, would essentially kill that agreement by retroactively reinstating financial penalties and continuing the prohibition on ZTE's ability to sell to the U.S. government.

    Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., who is one of the co-sponsors of the measure, said that the amendment would likely put ZTE out of business.

    “ZTE said they couldn’t remain in business, or at least not remain anything other than a cell phone hand-held business, if the denial order from March was in effect. And this would essential put the denial order back into effect,” Cotton told reporters.

    The telecom company is considered by the intelligence community to be a mechanism for espionage by, in part, selling phones in the U.S. that can be tracked and enabled to steal intellectual property.

    The U.S. slapped sanctions on ZTE in 2016, prohibiting the company from doing business in the U.S. for seven years, when it violated U.S. sanctions against Iran and North Korea. The Commerce Department placed additional sanctions on the company after it failed to follow through with its reorganization plan and lied to the U.S. government about it.

    A bipartisan group of senators praised the amendment, saying it protects the U.S.’s national security.

    “The fact that a bipartisan group of senators came together this quickly is a testament to how bad the Trump administration's ZTE deal is and how we will not shy away from holding the president's feet to the fire when it comes to keeping his promise to be tough on China,” Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer said in a statement.

    The amendment was added just as Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross was on Capitol Hill briefing senators about a component of the president’s ZTE deal. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, left the meeting saying he was supportive of the Senate’s effort.

    The NDAA still has to pass the Senate and the House of Representatives must still agree to the defense bill with the measure included before it can advance. The president would then face a choice: Veto a critical defense bill to save the ZTE deal or allow the administration's deal to collapse. Sen. Cotton said the president won’t veto the bill “because the bill pertains many other critical priorities.”"

    https://www.reddit.com/r/politics/comments/8qf1n9/senate_blocks_zte_deal_in_rebuke_of_trump_deal/

    House panel rebukes Trump, upholds sanctions on Chinese tech megafirm
    By SARAH FERRIS and JOHN HENDEL 05/17/2018 02:44 PM EDT
    https://www.politico.com/story/2018/05/17/house-panel-backs-zte-sanctions-in-rebuke-of-trump-550140
     
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2018
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    Here's a timeline of the US and ZTE's sanctions battle, and new deal
    BY RACHEL KRAUS, JUN 07, 2018
    https://mashable.com/2018/06/07/us-ends-zte-sanctions-trump/

    "Well folks, it's been one weird ride.

    Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross announced Thursday that the U.S. is ending the sanctions it imposed on Chinese handset maker ZTE only two months ago.

    The U.S. imposed the sanctions in the first place because ZTE had failed to comply with an original round of punishment for doing business with Iran and North Korea, and then misled the commerce department about their actions...but more on that later.

    The U.S. had revoked export privileges, meaning that ZTE couldn't get parts manufactured in the U.S. that it needed to make its handsets. That caused the business to end its operations.

    Now, in exchange for reinstating U.S. exports, ZTE will pay a $1 billion fine. It also has to change its board within 30 days, and the U.S. will embed a compliance team of its choosing inside ZTE.

    ZTE will also give the U.S. an additional $400 million as insurance for compliance; if ZTE makes good on its promises, it will get that money back. So that serves as incentive to actually make the changes this time.

    But U.S. politicians on both sides of the aisle are still flummoxed by the decision to throw ZTE a bone.

    " #China on the verge of winning again. They mock us by appointing someone from another sanctioned company as the supposed “watchdog” over #ZTE & we respond by helping ZTE stay in business. Great deal for China." https://t.co/iNgzy43w4m via @bpolitics
    — Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) June 6, 2018

    "If these reports are true, @realDonaldTrump has put China, not the United States, first. By letting ZTE off the hook, the president who roared like a lion is governing like a lamb when it comes to China. Congress should move in a bipartisan fashion to block this deal right away. https://t.co/ehRxD8b8bl "
    — Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) June 5, 2018

    If all this seems like a whirlwind of weirdness, that's because...it is. Here's how we got here.

    March 2017: The fight begins
    The U.S. discovers that ZTE has been doing business with Iran and North Korea. This violates a trade agreement — the U.S. doesn't want foreign companies that we do business with selling products that contain US-manufactured components to our enemies.

    So, the U.S. Department of Commerce punishes ZTE. ZTE pays a fine of nearly $2 billion. It also promises to issue formal reprimands to its board, and revoke their bonuses. Burn.

    February 2018: China is maybe spying on us, U.S. throws shade
    The U.S. intelligence community issues a statement that they do not recommend U.S. citizens use ZTE or Huawei phones. The two Chinese companies failed to convince U.S. officials that they weren't using their hardware to spy on U.S. citizens.

    "We're deeply concerned about the risks of allowing any company or entity that is beholden to foreign governments (...) to gain positions of power inside our telecommunications networks," said FBI Director Christopher Wray. "It provides the capacity to maliciously modify or steal information. And it provides the capacity to conduct undetected espionage."

    This does not have to do with this trade issue specifically, but tensions heightened.

    April 2018: ZTE gets greedy, U.S. gets mad
    The U.S. discovers that ZTE never issued those reprimand letters. And that ZTE board members still got their bonuses. Gasp!

    ZTE relies on several components manufactured in the U.S. for their handsets, and the U.S. knows it. So the U.S. imposes sanctions to hit them where it hurts. It revokes export privileges, meaning that ZTE won't have access to the parts that it needs to manufacture its products.

    May 2018: The sanctions are crippling
    ZTE stops operations because it runs out of the crucial U.S. parts it needs.

    May 2018: Trump gets involved
    Trump tweets his support for ZTE, and insists he is working towards a deal to get ZTE back in business, and reinstate lost Chinese jobs.

    "President Xi of China, and I, are working together to give massive Chinese phone company, ZTE, a way to get back into business, fast. Too many jobs in China lost. Commerce Department has been instructed to get it done!"
    — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 13, 2018

    The world is extremely confused. It's not clear why Trump wants to support Chinese jobs, given his past posturing against the country. Nor why he is ready to forgive a company for doing business with North Korea and Iran — especially having just imposed new sanctions on Iran.

    Meanwhile, three days after the tweet, a Chinese developer announces the completion of a deal to build a new theme park with Trump brand licensing.

    June 2018: Sayonara sanctions!
    This takes us to the present. Secretary Ross traveled to Beijing for high-level trade talks during the first weekend of June. Days later, he announces the lifting of sanctions, and the new financial penalties. The fine is significant — ZTE's annual revenue is 108 billion in Chinese Yuan, which comes out to about 17 billion U.S. dollars. So a $1 billion fine is about six percent of its annual revenue.

    The deal is said to be part of a larger renegotiation of Chinese and American trade relations.

    Whew, so now, ZTE can continue making its nonsense phones."
     
  9. hmscott

    hmscott Notebook Nobel Laureate

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    ZTE cannot repair its restrooms due to the U.S. export ban
    By Brenda Stolyar and Jeremy Kaplan, June 23, 2018 - 3:44PM
    https://www.digitaltrends.com/mobile/commerce-bans-zte-from-exporting-technology-from-the-us/

    "Chinese telecommunications giant ZTE announced in an exchange filing on May 9 that it was ceasing operations following a ban imposed by the U.S. Department of Commerce — and President Donald Trump may have solved the issue his administration has helped create.

    The troubles at ZTE began last year with a massive fine for working around U.S. sanctions that prevented sales to Iran and North Korea. They compounded last month, when the U.S. Department of Commerce announced a ban preventing American companies from selling components to ZTE, which is known for creating smartphones, telecommunications gear, and other mobile gadgets. American-made microchips and software, notably the Android operating system, are essential to making those products. Despite the direct wishes of politicians on both sides of the aisle, Trump declared plans to help the Chinese company — and is going ahead with them full steam.

    Restroom problems
    Just how reliant is ZTE on U.S. products? Well, we know that the company can’t make its hardware without supplies from the States. And according to the South China Morning Post, the company can’t even fix the urinals in its restrooms due to the ban. The urinal in question was apparently made by New Jersey-based American Standard, so ZTE is unable to purchase the parts needed to fix it. A note above the urinal explaning the situation was confirmed by a ZTE employee.

    ZTE deal endangered
    The deal to save ZTE ran into a roadblock earlier this month when the Senate overwhelmingly voted to pass a bill containing a provision that would block Trump’s ZTE deal. The measure was included as part of the National Defense Authorization Actand was passed 85-10. The Senate’s version of the bill must still pass the House of Representatives, and it is unclear if they will vote to include the ZTE measure.

    If the bill is passed in its current form, however, then ZTE may be in trouble. Trump could theoretically veto the bill, but that would mean vetoing an important piece of national defense legislation. Even if Trump does veto this bill, there is no guarantee that Congress won’t simply override the veto, since it is possible they could get votes to do so.

    ZTE saved?
    Congress has agreed to a deal allowing ZTE to resume U.S. operations in exchange for some major concessions, Reuters reports. The company will have to pay a large fine, place U.S. compliance officers at the company, and make changes to its management. On Friday, Trump tweeted that he let the company resume operations “with high level security guarantees, change of management and board, must purchase U.S. parts and pay a $1.3 Billion fine.”

    Senator Schumer and Obama Administration let phone company ZTE flourish with no security checks. I closed it down then let it reopen with high level security guarantees, change of management and board, must purchase U.S. parts and pay a $1.3 Billion fine. Dems do nothing….
    - Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 25, 2018

    Trump had first tweeted on Mother’s Day to show his concern over lost Chinese jobs at ZTE, and professed his interest in working with the Government to solve the problem.

    “Too many jobs in China lost. Commerce Department has been instructed to get it done!” the president wrote.

    On Friday, Reuters reported that the Trump administration was considering increasing ZTE’s fine to $1.7 billion. This may be because the agreement to lift sanctions against ZTE has met with bipartisan opposition in Congress, as some consider the company a threat to national security.

    High-tech geopolitics
    The news reveals the degree to which today’s whiz-bang technology gadgets and gear can be influenced by geopolitics. Trade sanctions, manufacturing jobs, and security concerns have become key factors in which products are available to modern consumers and how much they cost. Similar issues mean your next washing machine will be more expensive, and tariffs on high-end goods may lead to rising television prices as well.

    As the trade wars have escalated between the U.S. and key partners such as China, companies have been forced to respond. ZTE filed a request with the U.S. Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security for a suspension of the ban. ZTE has not said when the request was made, but it was mentioned in a Sunday, May 13 filing statement made at the Shenzhen stock exchange. The full details of the request have not been disclosed, but the statement did say the company provided additional materials upon the request of the Commerce Department.

    In addition to this ban, the company faces several other issues related to U.S. trade. Earlier in May, it was announced that Huawei and ZTE phones had been banned from military stores.

    Taking steps
    In response to the crisis, ZTE claimed it was taking steps to rectify the internal problems that led to the ban, and sought a solution. In a statement given to the Hong Kong Stock exchange, ZTE said it has “taken steps and is taking steps to comply with the denial order. The company is making active communications with relevant parties and seeking a solution.”

    The actions include a committee focusing on compliance, overseen by ZTE’s CEO and experts in the matter, along with additional training for staff. ZTE said it has learned from “past experiences on export control compliance.”

    The Department of Commerce’s ban makes it illegal for U.S. companies to sell any products and services to the company; but how did it reach this stage?

    Last year, ZTE agreed to settle with the United States government for $892 million for violating laws that prohibit the sale of American technology to Iran and North Korea. Between 2010 and 2016, the company shipped $32 million worth of equipment to Iran that included U.S. components without authorization. The Chinese mobile giant then lied to investigators when it declared the dealings had stopped.

    In addition to the fine, the company was subject to a seven-year, $300 million suspended penalty if the company violated the settlement, bringing the total penalty to about $1.2 billion. Not only did ZTE agree to participate in routine monitoring and auditing, but it was also placed on a list of companies U.S. suppliers are banned from doing business with absent government approval.

    Upon pleading guilty to conspiracy to unlawful export, obstruction of justice, and making false statements to federal investigators, it appeared ZTE was committed to positive change. In a statement released amid the events, ZTE’s chief export compliance officer — U.S. lawyer Matt Bell — said the company would restructure its legal department as well as institute new policies, training, and automated tools to keep up with regulations.

    False statements
    Part of the agreement included letting go of four of the firm’s senior employees and disciplining 35 others by reducing their bonuses or reprimanding them, Reuters notes. But according to the Department of Commerce, ZTE rewarded its employees for the illegal conduct instead.

    While the company disclosed it fired its four employees, it did not disclose that the rest of its staff received full bonuses rather than letters of reprimand. The company’s false statements were reported to the U.S. government after the Bureau of Industry and Security requested documentation showing proof that employee discipline had occurred.

    The Department of Commerce determined ZTE made false statements to the Bureau of Industry and Security specifically in 2016 and 2017. The statements had been in relation to disciplinary actions the company claimed it had taken or was planning on taking toward its senior employees.

    “ZTE made false statements to the U.S. Government when they were originally caught and put on the Entity List, made false statements during the reprieve it was given, and made false statements again during its probation,” - U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross said in a statement.

    Updated on June 23: Updated with the news that ZTE is not even able to repair its restrooms due to the export ban."
     
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2018
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    Senate GOP fires another warning shot at Trump over Chinese telecom giant
    By SARAH FERRIS and JOHN BRESNAHAN, 06/25/2018 08:53 PM EDT
    https://www.politico.com/story/2018/06/25/trump-zte-senate-chinese-telecom-671845

    "The Senate has a message for President Donald Trump on the embattled Chinese tech giant ZTE: We’re watching.

    Senate Republicans have repeatedly inserted language in must-pass spending bills that would limit U.S. ties to the Chinese company by banning federal agencies from buying its products.

    The Senate’s provision sets up a clash with the Trump administration because, unlike harsher rebukes of ZTE that have been tucked into legislation this year, this one could make it to Trump’s desk.

    The Senate GOP’s spending chief, Richard Shelby of Alabama, said he agreed to add the language into several bills because the Senate was interested in taking “multiple approaches” to restricting the United States’ ties to ZTE.

    “You never know what bills are going to become law,” Shelby said Monday. “You don’t ever know what bills are actually going to go to conference and come out of conference.”

    The Senate approved the first of those bills Monday night, as part of a three-bill package that Republican leaders hope will make it to Trump’s desk before September.

    Democrats endorse the language, but argue that the narrow provision leaves room for the administration to keep working to revive a company that has been repeatedly accused of helping the Chinese government spy on Americans.

    Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), the minority leader, said he prefers the language wrapped into the Senate’s massive defense policy bill last week, which is far more restrictive.

    That provision in the National Defense Authorization Act, or NDAA, would uphold U.S. sanctions against the Chinese company.

    “Democrats do not see this as a replacement for the NDAA language,” Schumer’s spokesman Matt House said Monday. “That was sanctioning ZTE. This is just ensuring that we don’t procure from ZTE.”

    The House, too, has inserted sanctions provisions into a funding bill this year. That bill is awaiting a vote on the floor as early as this summer. The House’s defense policy bill also included the same harsh provision on sanctions.

    Lawmakers from both parties on Capitol Hill have tried to block Trump’s actions on ZTE since the president announced on Twitter in May that he was attempting to revive the controversial phonemaker. Several members have cited security warnings from the administration itself.

    The Senate’s latest push has been led by Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), who sits on the powerful appropriations panel, according to multiple Senate aides.

    Rubio himself worked with Shelby and his Democratic counterparts to include the language in four funding bills, which fund departments including the Commerce Department. All have been approved overwhelmingly by both parties in committee.

    The Senate’s newly passed funding bill — which includes largely uncontroversial spending for military and veterans programs — marks the second time in one week that the Senate has rebuked Trump for his dealings with ZTE. The Senate also targets a Chinese mega-firm, Huawei, which faces similar espionage accusations.

    But unlike last week’s defense policy bill, it’s unclear how the new funding restrictions for federal agencies would significantly hamper ZTE’s operations in the U.S., which Trump has sought to revitalize.

    Trump himself appeared to support an attempt by Congress to bar ZTE from doing business with the federal government, as long as the firm could continue to operate in the U.S. commercial market.

    “Obviously government procurement is much more sensitive when it comes to national security," the Senate majority whip, John Cornyn of Texas, said after the meeting.

    By that point last week, Rubio’s language had already been included in multiple committee-approved funding bills. The Florida Republican was not included in the White House meeting.
     
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