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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

Ben Geman, author of Generate
18 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.

1 hour 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.

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