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Senators Aim to Keep Commerce Dept’s Penalties on ZTE Via Amendment to FY 2019 NDAA

Senators announced plans to add a bipartisan amendment to the fiscal 2019 National Defense Authorization Act that would retain the Commerce Department’s penalties against Chinese telecommunications firm ZTE for breaching U.S. sanctions on North Korea and Iran, The Hill reported Monday.

The proposed amendment would also prevent U.S. agencies from purchasing telecommunications services and equipment from ZTE and Huawei and preclude them from offering loans and subsidies to both Chinese firms.

Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) worked with Sens. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) on the amendment.

The proposed measure is in response to the Commerce Department’s announcement on Thursday that it struck a new deal that would allow ZTE to resume business with the U.S. in exchange for the payment of a $1 billion fine and $400 million in escrow for future violations.

The new agreement also calls for the introduction into ZTE of a team of coordinators selected by the department’s bureau of industry and security to monitor the company’s compliance with U.S. export control laws for a 10-year period.

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