United States and UK suppliers banned from exporting to Chinese electronics giant ZTE

A Chinese national flag and two flags bearing the name of ZTE fly outside the ZTE R&D building in Shenzhen China

A statement from the Commerce Department said that In March 2017, ZTE agreed to a combined civil and criminal penalty and forfeiture of $1.19 billion after illegally shipping telecommunications equipment to Iran and North Korea, making false statements, and obstructing justice including through preventing disclosure to and affirmatively misleading the U.S. Government.

As part of the agreement, Shenzhen-based ZTE promised to dismiss four senior employees and discipline 35 others by either reducing their bonuses or reprimanding them, senior USA officials told Reuters.

The commerce Department also reported that the employees who were involved in the above mentioned illegal act were paid full bonuses by the company ZTE corp. even failed to issue letters of reprimand for those employees and also lied about the practices to USA authorities.

Denying ZTE export privileges prevents the company from "participating in any way in any transaction" subject to the USA government's Export Administration Regulations, which govern sales of sensitive technology overseas.

As part of the agreement, ZTE pledged to fire four senior executives and apply sanctions to another 35 employees for participating in these "illegal" actions.

The U.S. Federal Communication Commission on Tuesday plans to consider a ban on the networking equipment from the companies of ZTE and Huawei.

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The company swung back into a profit last year after a loss in 2016 due to a payment of a record fine, which the company agreed to pay the U.S. government to settle a five-year probe of trade sanctions violations. -China tensions over trade between the world's two biggest economies.

"ZTE misled the Department of Commerce", Ross said in a statement.

The suspension followed security watchdog National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) warning telecoms companies in the United Kingdom about the long term threat ZTE pose to the infrastructure of these companies.

Similar sentiments were offered by U.S. Republican representative Robert Pittenger, who told Reuters, "China does not play by our rules, and we must be vigilant against Chinese threats to both our economic security and national security". Last year ZTE sold 46.4 million smartphones with half of the phones using Qualcomm chips.

The ban on supplying ZTE comes two months after two Republican senators introduced legislation to block the USA government from buying or leasing telecommunications equipment from ZTE or Huawei, citing concern the companies would use their access to spy on US officials.

For ZTE itself, the latest USA action means one of the world's top makers of smartphones and communications gear will no longer be able to buy technology from American suppliers, including components central to its products. Oclaro Inc, which got 18 percent of its fiscal 2017 revenue from ZTE, lost 14 percent.

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