Chinese telecom equipment maker ZTE Corp said on Friday it won't accept the United States' ban on the company, which is "extremely unfair" and has ignored all efforts to comply with U.S. export control laws and regulations.
The reply came after the U.S. Department of Commerce banned ZTE earlier this week from buying any U.S. technology for seven years, a decision that may deal a deadly blow to the Chinese company and negatively affect the global telecom industry.
ZTE said on its official website the Shenzhen-based company has devoted tons of resources, including more than $50 million in 2017, to learn and comply with U.S. export control laws and regulations, after pleading guilty in 2016 to violating U.S. sanctions.
Despite these efforts, the U.S. government imposed the ban on ZTE, as according to the department the Chinese company failed to discipline its 35 employees by reducing their bonuses or reprimanding them as agreed in a sanctions settlement.
"The U.S. government did not take into account ZTE found the problem itself and took the initiative to report such problems to the regulator. We also moved very quickly to punish people who made the mistake, and hired U.S. law firms to independently investigate the issue," the website read. "Before the investigation was done, the U.S. government imposed the toughest ban on us. It is extremely unfair. We won't accept it."
The statement continued, "We won't give up solving this problem via dialogue, but we are also determined to safeguard our legitimate rights and interests through all legally available means."
On Thursday, China's Ministry of Commerce said the action against ZTE has caused market worries about the trade and investment environment in the U.S., and will ultimately undermine the U.S. itself.
ZTE accounts for about 10 percent of the global telecom equipment market, and 30 percent of the Chinese telecom market, according to data compiled by China International Capital Corp, a leading investment firm.
It is also the fourth biggest seller of smartphones in the United States. In 2017, it recorded 108.8 billion yuan ($17.3 billion) in revenue, up 7.5 percent year-on-year.
The ban is the latest development in the U.S. government's punishment of ZTE, after the company pleaded guilty in 2016 to violating sanctions by shipping telecom equipment to Iran and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. ZTE has already paid $890 million in fines and penalties.