Chinese telecom equipment maker ZTE Corp has agreed to pay more than a billion dollars in fines and plead guilty to criminal charges for violating U.S. laws that restrict the sale of American-made technology to Iran and North Korea. Graham Mackay reports.
The Chinese telecoms equipment giant ZTE on Tuesday (March 7) agreed to pay more than a billion dollars in fines and plead guilty to criminal charges for illegally shipping U.S.-made technology to Iran and North Korea. Around 30 percent of the components used in ZTE products come from America, which strictly bans exports to the two counties. Washington has been probing the company for five years, and is sending a clear message to any company tempted to try something similar. "Improper trade games are over with. Those who flout our economic sanctions, export control laws and any other trade regimes will not go unpunished. they will suffer the harshest of consequences," said U.S. commerce secretary Wilbur Ross Authorities say routers, microprocessors and servers made with U.S. components were all used by ZTE in an elaborate cover up. Qualcomm, Intel and Microsoft are among the household names that legally supplied the company. ZTE has also agreed to a seven-year suspended ban on export privileges, meaning if it puts a foot wrong again, it will lose the right to bring in parts that were built in America. According to one U.S. investigator, that would probably put the company out of business.