The U.S. didn’t intend to “put ZTE out of business” by penalizing the Chinese telecommunications maker for violating U.S. sanctions, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said.
The U.S. review of penalties against ZTE Corp. for the violations will bear in mind any threats to American security, Mnuchin said Tuesday during a hearing before the Senate appropriations subcommittee on financial services and general government.
“Anything that they consider will take into account the very important national security issues, and those will be addressed,” he said.
The U.S. ban on ZTE for breaching terms of a settlement over sanction-breaking sales to Iran has become entwined in the trade dispute between the U.S. and China.
The Shenzhen, China-based company depends on U.S. components, such as chips from Qualcomm Inc., to build its smartphones and networking gear. ZTE suspended all major operations because of the ban and is relying on its cash reserves for daily expenses, including salaries of its 75,000 employees.
Larry Kudlow, President Donald Trump’s top economic adviser, said on Sunday that management changes at ZTE would be among remedies needed before the U.S. would consider a reprieve.