ZTE fired back at the US Department of Commerce over charges it made false statements during settlement talks and a probationary period in 2017, saying the agency ignored the fact it self-reported the incidents and brought in a law company to conduct an investigation.

The company said a denial order issued earlier in the week by the Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) will not only severely impact its survival and development, but also damage its partners, including a large number of US companies.

In a statement issued today (20 April), ZTE said it had worked diligently on an export control compliance programme, invested tremendous resources in export compliance and made significant progress since 2016.

“ZTE will not give up its efforts to resolve the issue through communication, and we are also determined, if necessary, to take judicial measures to protect the legal rights and interests of our company”.

The China-based vendor said it hired a US law company to conduct an independent investigation and took measures against the employees who might have been responsible for the incident.

“It is unacceptable that BIS insists on unfairly imposing the most severe penalty on ZTE even before the completion of investigation of facts, ignoring the continuous diligent work of ZTE and the progress we have made on export compliance and disregarding the fact that…ZTE self-identified the issues in the correspondence and self-reported by ZTE immediately,” the company said.

Report delayed
As a result of the US action the vendor delayed the release of its Q1 results while it determines the impact of an order barring US companies from selling components to it.

The US Department of Commerce stated ZTE made false statements related to senior employee disciplinary action it said it would take after admitting breaching US trade sanctions covering exports to Iran and North Korea.

ZTE said it established a compliance committee led by its CEO and built a global team of experienced export control compliance experts, adding “compliance is regarded as the foundation and bottom-line of the company’s operation”.