Commerce Secretary Wilbur “Wolverine” Ross put the trade world on notice today when he announced a staggering $1.19 billion penalty on Chinese company ZTE for violating U.S. sanctions and selling electronics to Iran and North Korea.
China’s ZTE has agreed to pay the United States the fine. Remember, in China all private businesses are politically attached to the central government.
(From Wilbur Ross Office) Secretary of Commerce Wilbur L. Ross, Jr. today announced that China’s Zhongxing Telecommunications Equipment Corporation and ZTE Kangxun Telecommunications Ltd., known collectively as ZTE, has agreed to a record-high combined civil and criminal penalty of $1.19 billion, pending approval from the courts, after illegally shipping telecommunications equipment to Iran and North Korea in violation of the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) and the Iranian Transactions and Sanctions Regulations (ITSR).
As part of the settlement, ZTE has agreed to pay a penalty of $661 million to Commerce’s Bureau of Industry Security (BIS), with $300 million suspended during a seven-year probationary period to deter future violations.
This civil penalty is the largest ever imposed by the BIS and, if the criminal plea is approved by a federal judge, the combined $1.19 billion in penalties from Commerce, the Department of Justice, and the Department of Treasury, would be the largest fine and forfeiture ever levied by the U.S. government in an export control case.
“We are putting the world on notice: the games are over,” said Secretary Ross. “Those who flout our economic sanctions and export control laws will not go unpunished – they will suffer the harshest of consequences.
Under President Trump’s leadership, we will be aggressively enforcing strong trade policies with the dual purpose of protecting American national security and protecting American workers.” (read more)