But why is the USA government so concerned with what ZTE makes and sells?
Democrat and Republican senators denounced Trump's offer to ease the ZTE sanctions as an offer that imposed punitive measures the company had already disregarded once before, while garnering no true concessions from China.
Eric Hirschhorn, a former US undersecretary of commerce who had been involved in the ZTE case, said "the government is merely setting a price for doing business instead of giving them the punishment they deserve".
The company employs 75,000, including about 30,000 in research and development. Overall this an unprecedented agreement with the BIS in both the size of the fines and the overall scope of the compliance monitoring.
In 2017, sales were about $17.2 billion. It would also allow unfettered site visits to verify that USA components are being used as claimed by the company and post calculations of US parts in its products on a public website. Specifically, Bloomberg reported that the US might lift the export ban if Chinese regulators approve Qualcomm's $43 billion bid for NXP.
The US had previously blocked ZTE's access to US suppliers, saying the company had violated a sanctions settlement.
Huawei makes networking products and telecom systems. Apparently, the USA is fining ZTE to the tune of $1 billion with $400 million in escrow on top of that to cover future violations.
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That includes an ever-rising number of smart devices such as self-driving cars, home appliances, emergency communication networks as well as automated and semi-automated manufacturing, energy distribution networks and utilities, like water and sewer systems. This includes once again being able to receive Qualcomm SoCs and the Android OS for their smartphones, along with the numerous components used in their networking gear.
"It doesn't really move the ball forward on the deeper structural issues in U.S. So this change is appropriate to bring the punishment back in line with what was originally intended", as US official told Breitbart News. "Even if China wins the race to build various 5G technologies, it won't be a zero-sum game", Dhar said.
The company is listed on both the Hong Kong and Shenzhen stock exchanges.
Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross banned US companies from doing business with ZTE in April, after his agency learned that ZTE had not followed through on commitments made back in 2016.
The problems with ZTE extend beyond its violations of sanctions.
Carlos Gutierrez, who was Commerce Secretary under President George W. Bush, said the change in the US penalty likely averted a worsening in relations with China. "This is a national security concern". The first sanctions followed a probe into illegally shipped equipment to Iran and North Korea.