ZTE plea deal with US could be “sign of progress”
After being granted a fifth reprieve from US sanctions that would have immensely impacted Chinese manufacturer ZTE’s supply chain, the company is close to signing plea agreements with US government agencies, a source tells Reuters.
The company has been under the threat of sanctions that would have barred US companies from conducting business with ZTE for just shy of a year at this point. It has been cooperating with the investigation into its banned dealings with Iranian businesses back in 2012 and has been receiving branches of relief from the sanctions, the latest of which should last through March 29.
The manufacturer would have to sign agreements admitting guilt of criminal misconduct among several lines with the Justice, Treasury and Commerce departments and pay fines ranging in the hundreds of millions of dollars. Compliance monitoring would have to be reinforced and the government could install personnel at the company to do so. ZTE claims it has been reforming its practices over the past several years as it began conducting direct-to-consumer sales in the US.
Personnel changes under the Trump administration may delay or cancel plans for the plea to go through.