Apr 16, 2018

U.S. bans American companies from selling to Chinese phone maker ZTE

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.

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U.S. and Taliban sign peace deal

US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad (L) and Taliban co-founder Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar (R) sign a peace agreement during a ceremony in Qatar. Photo: Giuseppe Cacace/AFP via Getty Images

The United States signed a peace deal with the Taliban in Doha, Qatar on Saturday after over a year of off-and-on negotiations, The New York Times reports.

Why it matters: The signing of the deal officially begins the process of ending the United States' longest war, which has spanned nearly two decades. The agreement sets a timetable for the U.S. to pull its remaining 13,000 troops out of Afghanistan, per the Times, but is contingent on the Taliban's completion of commitments, including breaking ties with international terrorist groups, such as al Qaeda.

Biden bets it all on South Carolina

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Most Joe Biden admirers Axios interviewed in South Carolina, where he's vowed to win today's primary, said they're unfazed by his embarrassing losses in Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada.

Why it matters: Biden has bet it all on South Carolina to position himself as the best alternative to Bernie Sanders — his "good buddy," he tells voters before skewering Sanders' record and ideas.

Coronavirus updates: Market ends worst week since financial crisis

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

The stock market ended its worst week since the financial crisis, prompting the Fed to release a statement. Meanwhile, the WHO warned that countries are losing their chance to contain the novel coronavirus and raised its global risk assessment to "very high" Friday.

The big picture: COVID-19 has killed more than 2,860 people and infected more than 84,000 others in over 60 countries and territories outside the epicenter in mainland China. The number of new cases reported outside China now exceed those inside the country.

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