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China urges US to properly handle trade relations after ZTE settlement

A Chinese national flag and two flags bearing the name of ZTE fly outside the ZTE R&D building in Shenzhen, China April 27, 2016. Photo: Bobby Yip/Reuters

China on Thursday said it has always resolutely opposed US imposing sanctions on Chinese companies by using its domestic laws, after China's largest listed telecom equipment maker ZTE reached a settlement with the US authorities over US export controls and sanctions charges.

"We hope the US side will properly handle the issue within the larger picture of Sino-US economic and trade relations, so as to create a good atmosphere for the stable and healthy development of bilateral economic and trade relations," said Sun Jiwen, a spokesperson of the Ministry of Commerce, during a press conference in Beijing.

China has always required Chinese companies to operate in compliance with local laws and regulations in overseas markets, Sun added.

ZTE said Tuesday night that it had reached a settlement with the US authorities over US export controls and sanctions charges "in order to remove uncertainties in the global communications market."

ZTE has agreed to pay a criminal and civil penalty of about $892 million and an additional penalty of $300 million, which will be suspended for a seven-year probationary period to deter future violations, according to a statement on the website of ZTE on Tuesday.

Last March, the US authorities claimed that ZTE and its affiliated entities had illegally shipped telecommunications equipment to certain countries including Iran which violated US regulations. The US Commerce Department then added ZTE on the Entity List under the Export Administration Regulations, according to the China News Service.

Following the settlement, the Bureau of Industry and Security under the US Commerce Department will recommend that ZTE be removed from the list, according to the ZTE statement on Tuesday.

“ZTE acknowledges the mistakes it made, takes responsibility for them, and remains committed to positive change in the company, … and the agreements we reached will enable us to move forward in a stronger position than ever before” said Dr. Zhao Xianming, Chairman and CEO of ZTE Corporation.

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