Chinese phone maker ZTE saved from brink after deal with U.S.

(Reuters) – China’s No. 2 telecommunications equipment maker ZTE secured a lifeline from the Trump administration on Thursday after agreeing to pay a $1 billion fine and overhaul leadership in a deal that will lift a ban on its doing business with U.S. suppliers. The agreement comes as U.S. President Donald Trump seeks trade concessions from China and negotiations continue to avoid a trade war between the world’s two largest economies. Shares of U.S. companies that do business with ZTE rose on Thursday. U.S. lawmakers immediately attacked the agreement, citing intelligence warnings that ZTE (poses a national security threat. ZTE pleaded guilty last year to conspiring to evade U.S. embargoes by selling U.S. equipment to Iran. The ban on buying U.S. parts was imposed in April after the company lied about disciplining some executives responsible for the violations. ZTE then ceased major operations. Under the deal, ZTE will change its board and management within 30 days, pay a $1 billion (£744.7 million) fine and put an additional $400 million in escrow. The deal also includes a new 10-year ban that is suspended unless there are future violations.