Avoid ZTE, former Iloilo lawmaker warns

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FORMER Iloilo vice governor and representative Rolex Suplico reiterated his warning that companies or agencies in the Philippines should “refrain from associating with the ZTE Corp. of China” because of recent reports that the United States slapped trade restriction against the agency for selling US-made high-technology goods to Iran.

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In a public notice, the US Department of Commerce cited ZTE documents showing that the mobile phone maker illicitly re-exported controlled items to Iran through a series of shell companies in violation of US export control laws.

With the fresh sanctions, US companies were banned from selling a wide array of restricted goods, including computers, software and telecommunications equipment, to ZTE.

Analysts said the US sanctions may also affect ZTE’s partnership with San Miguel Corp. and Telstra in the Philippines.

Suplico said he had expressed his concern about ZTE ahead of the US ban.

The former lawmaker earlier warned that ZTE’s links to corruption in the Philippines should make regulators and government agencies wary about their involvement once again in building a broadband network in the country.

The former lawmaker was among those who filed an impeachment complaint against former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in connection with the anomalous ZTE National Broadband Network contract signed in 2007.

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