ZTE has decided to take "certain actions" allowed under the United States law in order to challenge the trade ban imposed on it by the stateside government last week, the company said in a Wednesday note to investors. The Chinese original equipment manufacturer has yet to decide when exactly will its push against the new sanction be publicized, having said that move is pending legal counsel and its correspondence with select U.S. agencies. Until ZTE publicly outlines its plan to combat the ban, the trading of its shares on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange will remain suspended, having already been halted immediately following the sanction itself last Monday.
ZTE on Friday issued a statement calling the Commerce Department's decision to prevent it from buying American hardware and software "unacceptable" and unfair, having argued that the violations it's now being severely punished for have been discovered internally and self-reported to the U.S. government for the sake of transparency. The competent U.S. agency accused ZTE of lying in its correspondence with the regulator and not adhering with the terms of its 2017 settlement over its illegal imports to Iran, a company under U.S. trade sanctions. Under the original agreement, ZTE vowed to pay some $890 million in fines, fire four executives, and discipline 35 other employees involved in the ordeal. The latter part of the settlement wasn't fulfilled for unknown reasons, with ZTE originally agreeing to either reprimand the employees in question or withhold their annual bonuses but not doing either.
ZTE's dispute with the Department of Commerce comes shortly after Huawei, another Chinese tech firm, was effectively blocked from doing large-scale business in the U.S. in any industry, following years of clashes and controversies with the federal government. Both issues are related to recent tensions between Washington and Beijing over trade, with ZTE's admitted transgressions and the fact that it's officially a state-owned business despite being publicly traded making it of particular interest to stateside regulators, many industry watchers agree.