The U.S. government has announced restrictions against China's second-largest telecommunications equipment maker for violating U.S. sanctions on Iran, prompting a strong protest from Beijing.
The U.S. Commerce Department announced that sanctions barring ZTE Corp. from using American components in its equipment will take effect on March 8.
The department released documents it said showed ZTE knowingly violated controls on sales of U.S. high-tech goods to Iran and set up front companies to conceal that.
China protested that the move will severely disrupt ZTE's business, with customers in more than 160 countries.
ZTE must now apply for permission to export equipment from the United States for use in its manufacturing business, it said.
"The U.S. move will severely affect the Chinese company's normal business activities," China's Ministry of Commerce said. Beijing and ZTE are both seeking negotiations to resolve the matter.
"ZTE has been actively making efforts to internationalize its business and has carried out broad trade and investment cooperation with hundreds of U.S. companies, creating tens of thousands of jobs for the United States," the Chinese ministry said.