ZTE suspends trading on stock market following U.S. and United Kingdom bans

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

ZTE has been hit by a seven-year US sales ban in punishment, according to the US Department of Commerce, for breaking the terms of a settlement over sanctions busting.

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.

Last night, U.S. Commerce Department's Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) has imposed a denial of export privileges against Zhongxing Telecommunications Equipment Corporation, which is popularly known as China's ZTE and based in Shenzhen in response to repeated false statements to the U.S. government during negotiations.

"The company takes the U.S. ban seriously and has immediately set up a crisis team, with every division analysing and coming up with measures to deal with the crisis", Yin said in an internal memo to employees seen by the South China Morning Post.

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The move, first reported by Reuters, comes at a time when the two countries have threatened each other with tens of billions of dollars in tariffs in recent weeks, fanning worries of a full blown trade war that threatens global supply chains as well as business investment plans.

The company's initial guilty plea was met with up to $1.2 billion penalties and fines, along with the dismissal of four senior employees, along with more fallout for lower-level employees.

Following the announcements ZTE has suspended trading in the company's shares.

ZTE agreed in March of a year ago to plead guilty and pay as much as $1.2 billion for violating US laws restricting sale of American technology to Iran.

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It is playing to concerns that the continuing trade tension between the USA and China could turn into a full-blown trade war, which would be damaging to the United States economy. "Many banks and companies even outside the USA are not going to want to deal with them", said Eric Hirschhorn, a former US undersecretary of commerce who was heavily involved in the case.

The sales ban came on the same day that it was revealed that the UK's National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has warned telecoms companies and other network operators of its "security concerns" with networking hardware made by Chinese vendor ZTE. Trump on Monday accused China along with Russian Federation of devaluing their currencies, opening a new front in his argument that foreign governments are exploiting the U.S. Its products, including smartphones, use such American parts as microprocessors from Qualcomm, glass made by Corning, and sound technology from Dolby.

"The UK telecommunications network already contains a significant amount of equipment supplied by Huawei, also a Chinese equipment manufacturer".

Shares in optical networking equipment maker Acacia Communications Inc, which gained just under a third of its total 2017 revenue from ZTE, tumbled 35 percent.

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ZTE has sold handset devices to USA mobile carriers AT&T Inc, T-Mobile US Inc and Sprint Corp.

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