Published: Fri, July 13, 2018
Money | By Ralph Mccoy

China's ZTE clears hurdle to lifting United States ban

China's ZTE clears hurdle to lifting United States ban

The lifting of the ban also coincides with the Trump administration placing hundreds of millions of dollars worth of tariffs on Chinese goods, however it remains to be seen how this will affect ZTE.

The resistance adds yet another wrinkle to a deal that Commerce struck last month to save ZTE, after US President Donald Trump directed the department to come up with an alternative to the seven-year ban, framing it as a favour to his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping and part of a larger strategy to win trade concessions.

The ban was imposed after ZTE broke an agreement reached after ZTE pleaded guilty in USA federal court previous year for illegally shipping US goods and technology to Iran, in violation of US sanctions. Should the company not meet its side of the agreement, it will forfeit the $400 million in the escrow account. The ZTE settlement represents the toughest penalty and strictest compliance regime the Department has ever imposed in such a case.

ZTE is very close to being able to continue to do business in the United States after months of negotiations with the government.

The Commerce Department cited its "three-pronged compliance regime", which includes the suspension of the ban, the escrow and an independent monitor.

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The ban on ZTE in the United States will now be lifted when the company pays $400m into an escrow account - on top of the $1 billion fine it has already had to pay.

The United States said on Wednesday that it signed an agreement with ZTE Corp that paves the way for the Chinese tech company to resume operations after a almost three-month ban on doing business with American suppliers. Analysts had called it a "death penalty" for the company. Later that month, his administration announced it would allow the company to stay in business after paying a $1.3 billion fine, changing its management and providing "high-level security guarantees".

Tom Cotton (Arkansas) and Roy Blunt (Missouri) and Democrats Chris Van Hollen (Maryland), Mark Warner (Virginia) and Bill Nelson (Florida) told leaders of the armed services committees of both the Senate and the House of Representatives that they strongly oppose the Commerce Department's deal with ZTE.

A few weeks later, the House of Representatives passed its own version that would allow ZTE to continue using USA suppliers, but would bar ZTE from selling its products and services to U.S. government agencies.

Some politicians have complained about the agreement.

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