RFL/RE – The U.S. Department of Commerce on July 13 lifted a ban on U.S. companies selling equipment to Chinese telecom giant ZTE, allowing the company to resume business.
The department imposed the ban in April over allegations that ZTE violated U.S. sanctions against Iran and North Korea, but the company’s warnings that the penalty would put it out of business prompted the White House to negotiate a reprieve for the firm.
The department said it lifted the ban shortly after ZTE deposited $400 million in a U.S. bank account as part of the White House settlement, which essentially replaced the ban with another $1 billion in fines and a requirement that ZTE replace its management team.
“The department will remain vigilant as we closely monitor ZTE’s actions to ensure compliance with all U.S. laws and regulations,” Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said in a statement that described the terms of the deal as the strictest ever imposed in such a case.
Ross said the deal will protect U.S. national security, despite claims by lawmakers in Congress that ZTE and other large Chinese corporations cannot be trusted with sensitive U.S. technology.
The U.S. Senate included a provision to reverse the deal in a massive defense policy bill passed last month.
ZTE, which relies on U.S. components for its smart phones and networking gear, ceased major operations after the ban was imposed.
Since the White House agreed to lift the ban, the company’s stock has soared, as have the shares of its U.S. suppliers, including Qualcomm, Intel, Broadcom, and Texas Instruments.
Based on reporting by dpa and Reuters