China telecoms firm ZTE hit by USA sanctions

Secretary Ross Announces Activation of ZTE Denial Order in Response to Repeated False Statements to the U.S. Government

-China tensions over trade between the world's two biggest economies.

"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", Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said in a statement provided to TechCrunch.

The ban comes after ZTE violated an agreement that was reached after it was caught illegally shipping USA technology to Iran and North Korea.

But instead of punishing those involved, "ZTE paid full bonuses to employees that had engaged in illegal conduct, and failed to issue letters of reprimand", the Commerce Department said in a statement.

China's ZTE Corp said on Tuesday it was assessing the implications of a US decision to ban American companies from selling components to the Chinese telecom equipment maker.

The action of the ban imposed by the USA on the ZTE corp. means that one of the world's top manufacturers of smart phones and communication gear will not be able to buy technology from American Supplies.

"At present, the company is assessing the full range of potential implications that this issue has on it, and is communicating with relevant parties proactively in order to respond accordingly", the company said.

ZTE, whose Hong Kong and Shenzhen shares were suspended from trade on Tuesday, said in a statement it was assessing the implications of the US decision and was communicating with "relevant parties".

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Piling further pressure on ZTE, Britain's main cyber security agency said on Monday it has written to organizations in the UK's telecommunications sector warning about using services or equipment from ZTE. President Donald Trump threatened tariffs on $150 billion in Chinese imports for alleged violations of intellectual property rights, while Beijing vowed to retaliate on everything from American soybeans to planes.

China's rise as a global tech powerhouse is at the heart of the trade clash.

Qualcomm Incorporated, its subsidiaries and affiliates' ("Qualcomm") hardware, software, source code and technology (collectively, "Products") are governed by the export laws of the USA and other countries where we do business.

China's Ministry of Commerce said Tuesday, that it "will closely follow the developments" in the ZTE case. It said the Shenzhen-based company has cooperated with hundreds of USA companies and contributed to the country's job creation.

A spokesperson for BT told the Financial Times: "BT takes the security of the UK's critical national infrastructure very seriously and has a robust testing regime in place to ensure that the equipment from all suppliers used in our network remains secure".

In February, US intelligence agencies warned Americans against buying ZTE and Huawei phones, saying the companies posed a security threat to American customers. Jefferies cut its recommendation on ZTE's stock to underperform and slashed its share price target by more than half to reflect its expectation that profit this year will slump by 51 per cent. It accounted for 10% of the U.S. smartphone market previous year, making it the fourth largest supplier, according to market research firm Counterpoint Technology.

Unlike the U.S., which de facto banned Huawei and ZTE from competing to provide telco infrastructure back in 2012, United Kingdom firms have embraced partnerships with the former, with the blessing of government.

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