ZTE appoints export compliance officer ahead of U.S. sanction deadline

ZTE's logo on its R&D center is seen in Beijing, China, in this March 22, 2016 file picture. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon/File Photo

HONG KONG (Reuters) - Chinese telecoms equipment group ZTE Corp, facing U.S. sanctions that could come this month, on Tuesday said it had appointed a new chief export compliance officer based in the United States.

Matthew Bell was appointed chief export compliance officer and legal counsel, and will also serve as chief compliance officer and legal counsel for ZTE USA, the firm’s U.S. subsidiary, the firm said.

An imposition of a ban from Nov. 28 for U.S. component makers and software firms to do business with ZTE threatens to cut off much of the supply chain for the Chinese network equipment and smartphone maker.

The U.S. Commerce Department ordered the trade ban in March this year over allegations that ZTE violated U.S. sanctions on Iran by selling products with U.S. technology into the country. It subsequently gave ZTE reprieves that were extended to Nov. 28 while the company seeks to reach a settlement.

Uncertainty brought about by the export restrictions have weighed heavily on ZTE’s share price this year, with the stock down 33 percent in Hong Kong.

Bell - who joins from U.S. engineering firm Kellogg Borwn & Root - will report to Chief Compliance Officer Cheng Gang, ZTE said.

Reporting by Sijia Jiang; Editing by Stephen Coates