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NCSC advice to telecommunications sector about ZTE

16 April 2018

According to the letter ZTE is a Chinese state-owned business and that new Chinese laws have been introduced enabling the state to exert influence over companies and individuals with "wide ranging powers of compulsion". ZTE's false statements only were reported to the U.S. Government after BIS requested information and documentation showing that employee discipline had occurred. In addition to these monetary penalties, ZTE also agreed a seven-year suspended denial of export privileges, which could be activated if any aspect of the agreement was not met and/or if the company committed additional violations of the Export Administration Regulations (EAR). On April 16, Secretary of Commerce Wilbur L. Ross, Jr. ZTE has been buying the hardware from the United States companies and using in its products which are later shipped to Iran and North Korea.

Shares of big U.S. ZTE suppliers fell sharply on the Commerce ban.

Oclaro Inc (NASDAQ: OCLR) saw its stock fall by more than 15 percent as ZTE accounted for 18 percent of its 2017 revenue. The UK National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) believes that the potential national security risks are too significant to be ignored, and that it would be better if UK telcos stopped buying ZTE hardware to avoid future security problems that wouldn't be easily mitigated. With the ban, none of the carriers are allowed to sell the ZTE smartphones. "It's certainly going to make it very hard for them to produce and will have a potentially significant short and long-term negative impact on the company".

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Finisar Corporation (NASDAQ: FNSR) said in a 10-k filing it counts ZTE as a major client, but didn't disclose how much revenue the company accounts for.

The U.S. action against ZTE is likely to further exacerbate current tensions between Washington and Beijing over trade. The company may still have a chance at redeeming itself in the United Kingdom, but as far as the USA goes, that's a much different story.

Allowing Huawei, ZTE, and other related entities access to USA government communications would be inviting Chinese surveillance into all aspects of our lives.

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"ZTE misled the Department of Commerce". Although Commerce Department officials would not discuss the report, they said the department followed up in February. Despite the fact that it's a company based in China, ZTE was found to be selling technology from the Iran through multiple shell companies.

Visitors pass in front of the Chinese telecoms equipment group ZTE Corp booth at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, February 26, 2018.

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NCSC advice to telecommunications sector about ZTE