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Photo: Cheriss May/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross told CNBC on Thursday morning that U.S. negotiators have "executed a definitive agreement with ZTE."

Why it matters: Compromise with ZTE — a repeat violator of U.S. sanctions against Iran and North Korea and a company identified as a national security threat by the Pentagon — could set a dangerous precedent for trade negotiations with China.

"At about 6 a.m. this morning, we executed a definitive agreement with ZTE. And that brings to a conclusion this phase of the development with them."
— Wilbur Ross

Worth noting: President Trump announced in a tweet on May 25 that a deal had been reached.

The details:

  • The Commerce Department announced that the terms of the agreement include a $1 billion fine against ZTE plus $400 million in escrow to cover any future violations in exchange for the U.S. lifting its ban.
  • "These penalties are in addition to the $892 million in penalties ZTE has already paid to the U.S government under the March 2017 settlement agreement," the Department said.
  • ZTE will also have to "retain a team of special compliance coordinators selected by and answerable to" the Department for 10 years.

The backdrop: China lobbied for a compromise on ZTE after the Commerce Department issued a 7-year ban on American companies selling parts to the Chinese company, which led to its effective shutdown. The ban was put in place to punish ZTE for selling products with American parts to North Korea and Iran.

Go deeper: How ZTE could change the game for the other, bigger Chinese phone maker under U.S. scrutiny

Go deeper

By the numbers: Census to show first decline of white population

Expand chart
Data: U.S. Census Bureau via Brookings Institute; Chart: Sara Wise/Axios

The latest census is expected to show the first decline in history for the nation's non-Hispanic white population, according to an analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data by the Brookings Institution's William Frey.

Why it matters: The U.S. is rapidly moving toward a majority-minority population — with the racial and ethnic diversity most apparent in younger cohorts. "This really is moving in a direction that’s going to favor the issues and the political agendas of these younger people," Frey told Axios.

50 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Democrats plot filibuster workarounds

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Several Democratic lawmakers are moving away from calls to eliminate the filibuster while privately discussing alternatives to bypass it, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: These talks have ramped up in earnest following the Republicans’ move Tuesday to block a measure to protect and expand voting rights.

50 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Infrastructure's remaining potholes

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

President Biden declared victory in announcing the bipartisan infrastructure package. Now comes the hard part: negotiating with his own party on the separate reconciliation bill.

Why it matters: By trying to simultaneously pass two massive spending bills, Biden and congressional leaders are attempting a legislative feat that will likely require Congress to work through its August recess — and potentially well into the fall, according to lawmakers and senior staffers.

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