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The new ZTE's dual screens foldable smartphone AXON M display on a billboard at the Mobile World Congress in February in Barcelona. Photo: JOSEP LAGO / AFP / Getty Images

The Commerce Department is barring American companies from selling components to Chinese telecom equipment maker ZTE for seven years in retaliation to the company violating terms of a $1.19 billion sanctions settlement, the Department announced Monday

Why it matters: ZTE is a top smartphone seller in the U.S., and the ban will not only be a big hit to the Chinese company, which is reliant on U.S. products and software, but will also affect major U.S. suppliers, like Qualcomm, which will no longer be able to sell chips and other equipment to ZTE.

The backdrop: Last year, ZTE violated their settlement agreement when the company illegally shipped equipment to Iran and North Korea. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said Monday that ZTE had also falsified statements during settlement negotiations and lied about the disciplinary actions taken against employees who participated in the scheme.

Timing: The ban comes one day before the Federal Communications Commission is set to vote on a proposal seeking to block a major federal program from buying gear or services from companies that “pose a national security threat” to U.S. communications networks. FCC Chair Ajit Pai has issued security concerns over China-based companies such as Huawei and ZTE.

Go deeper

Ben Geman, author of Generate
6 mins ago - Economy & Business

GM's shrinking deal with Nikola

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

General Motors will no longer take an equity stake in Nikola Corp. or build its pickup truck, under a revised deal that still envisions GM as a key tech supplier for Nikola's planned line of electric and fuel cell heavy trucks.

Driving the news: The revised agreement Monday is smaller in scope than a draft partnership rolled out in September that had included a $2 billion stake in the startup and an agreement to build its Badger pickup.

55 mins ago - Technology

Exclusive: Facebook's blackout didn't dent political ad reach

Photo: Valera Golovniov/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Americans saw more political ads on Facebook in the week before the 2020 election than they did the prior week despite the company's blackout on new political ads during that period, according to Global Witness, a human rights group that espouses tech regulation.

Why it matters: The presidential election was a key stress test for Facebook and other leading online platforms looking to prove that they can curb misinformation. Critics contend measures like the ad blackout barely made a dent.

Wall Street wonders how bad it has to get

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Wall Street is working out how bad the economy will have to get for Congress to feel motivated to move on economic support.

Why it matters: A pre-Thanksgiving data dump showed more evidence of a floundering economic recovery. But the slow drip of crumbling economic data may not be enough to push Washington past a gridlock to halt the economic backslide.