According to reporting by Reuters, China’s ZZTE company has signed a preliminary agreement to lift the US’ ban on the company’s operations within the US, after President Trump rolled back a decision by his own Commerce Department that banned the company from operating in US markets for seven years after ZTE was caught selling US goods to Iran and North Korea illegally.
“ZTE Corp has signed an agreement in principle that would lift a U.S. Commerce Department ban on buying from U.S. suppliers, allowing China’s No. 2 telecommunications equipment maker to get back into business, according to sources familiar with the matter. A Commerce Department spokesman said on Tuesday that “no definitive agreement has been signed by both parties.”
Trump tweeted last month that he told Commerce officials to find a way for ZTE to resume operations, later suggesting penalties of a $1.3 billion fine and changes to its board and top management.
As part of the deal, sources said, ZTE promised to replace its board and executive team in 30 days. It would also allow unfettered site visits to verify that U.S. components are being used as claimed by the company, and post calculations of U.S. parts in its products on a public website, they added.
ZTE’s resuscitation with U.S. help has met strong resistance in Congress, where both Democrats and Trump’s fellow Republicans have accused him of bowing to pressure from Beijing to help a company that has been labeled a threat to U.S. national security.
The ban was imposed after ZTE failed to comply with an agreement with the Commerce Department in 2017, when it pleaded guilty in federal court in Texas to conspiring to evade U.S. embargoes by illegally shipping U.S. goods and technology to Iran.”