Matthew Bell to lead ZTE’s export regulatory compliance efforts in US

ZTE has announced the appointment of Matthew Bell as the company’s Chief Export Compliance Officer and Legal Counsel, effective October 28, 2016.

Bell – who will also serve as the Chief Compliance Officer and Legal Counsel for ZTE USA, the company’s US subsidiary – will be based in the ZTE USA’s Richardson, TX headquarters, will be responsible for global compliance with export control laws and economic sanctions.  He will spend approximately a quarter of his time in Shenzhen, China at ZTE Corporation’s headquarters, and will travel throughout ZTE’s global operations to ensure compliance worldwide.  He will report to Mr Cheng Gang, the Company’s Chief Compliance Officer.

(TOP: Matthew Bell, ZTE’s Chief Export Compliance Officer and Legal Counsel).

“I am very pleased to welcome Mr Bell to ZTE,” said Dr. Zhao Xianming, President and Chairman of ZTE’s Board of Directors. “His appointment reflects our commitment to further strengthening our international compliance program in order to ensure it is robust, best-in-class and not only meets but exceeds the requirements under applicable laws and regulations in all global markets.”

As Chief Export Compliance Officer and Legal Counsel, Bell will be responsible for global compliance with export control laws and economic sanctions. His focus will be on further strengthening ZTE’s regulatory compliance trainings, standards and assessments, as well as working with a team of legal and compliance professionals to evaluate and address risk and assure the effectiveness of ZTE’s overall compliance program.

Bell joins ZTE at a time when the firm is doing all it can to have the US to permanently lift sanctions it placed against the firm in March this year. The US government, through the Commerce Department added ZTE to the “Entity List,” a roaster of foreign entities – both groups and individuals – which present risks to US national security or foreign policy interests, alleging that ZTE went against rules restricting exports of US technological products to Iran.

The sanctions hurt the company’s ability to procure U.S. components and software, creating tension between Beijing and Washington, according to a Washington Journal article.

Two weeks after imposing the sanctions, the US granted ZTE a temporary reprieve through June 30, whose renewal was to be based on the full cooperation of the IT firm. In June, the temporary relief was extended to August 30.

In order to have the sanctions lifted, ZTE then engaged US export-control experts to advise it on compliance issues.

In mid August, and before the August 30 expiry date of the earlier relief, the US’ Commerce Department said in a statement that the temporary sanctions relief has been extended to November 28, thereby allowing ZTE to keep working with US business partners.

Bell has experience and expertise in a number of compliance areas with a special focus on compliance with export controls and economic sanctions. He joins ZTE from his compliance position at Kellogg Brown & Root (KBR).  Prior to KBR, Bell helped develop the compliance program for Weatherford International as Global Trade Compliance Counsel and Region Ethics Counsel for North America. He has also worked as a consultant with Ernst & Young and KPMG, primarily developing and enhancing compliance programs for a number of Fortune 500 companies.

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