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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

Tina Reed, author of Vitals
1 hour ago - Health

Gottlieb: CDC hampered U.S. response to COVID

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

The CDC moved too slowly at several points in the coronavirus pandemic, ultimately hindering the U.S. response, former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb writes in a new book, Uncontrolled Spread.

The big picture: The book argues that American intelligence agencies should have a much bigger role in pandemic preparedness, even if that's sometimes at the expense of public health agencies like the CDC.

911's digital makeover

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

A next-generation 911 would allow the nation's 6,000 911 centers to accept texts, videos and photos.

The big picture: U.S. emergency communications have remained stubbornly analog, but Congress is about to take another run at dragging 911 into the digital age.

Biden enlists business leaders in campaign for vax mandates

President Joe Biden at a meeting with business leaders Sept. 15, 2021. Photo: Oliver Contretas/Getty Images

President Biden convened a meeting of top business leaders Wednesday to build support for a sweeping vaccine mandate that will affect most of America's workers. The message: Vaccines work, and the stalled uptake is holding back the economy.

Why it matters: As vaccine rates have flattened across the country, business leaders have the power to impact their employees’ decisions. Many corporate leaders had been looking for stronger federal guidance to lean on.

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