ZTE lives on: US Commerce Dept. lifts ban

ZTE can once again do business with American companies

Chinese telecommunications giant ZTE Corp, which was hit with a trade ban by the United States earlier this year, expects to report a net loss of 7 billion yuan (US$1.04 billion) to 9 billion yuan in the first six months of 2018, the company said in a regulatory filing on Friday.

The settlement ZTE reached with the U.S. Commerce Department included a US$1 billion penalty and a deposit of US$400 million in an escrow account.

The Commerce Department said Friday that these measures were the "harshest penalties and strictest compliance measures ever imposed in such a case".

The ban was imposed in April after Commerce Department officials said ZTE made false statements about disciplining 35 employees after it pleaded guilty past year to violating US sanctions by illegally shipping USA goods and technology to Iran, the Commerce Department said.

In a statement this week, Senator Mark Warner of Virginia, the senior Democrat on the Select Committee on Intelligence, lambasted the reversal, saying the United States military and spy agencies had branded ZTE an "ongoing threat" to USA national security. Members of Congress from both parties have lobbied to keep the ban in place, citing national security concerns.

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ZTE's revival was initially set in motion by President Trump, who vowed to help the company get "back into business" via Twitter back in May.

ZTE also agreed to bring in an American monitoring team and overhaul its top management as part of the deal.

The Chinese company is accused of selling sensitive technologies to Iran and North Korea, despite a US trade embargo. In addition to violating the terms of the settlement, the company lied to the US about reprimanding employees involved in the illegal actions.

ZTE, which relies on US components for its smart phones and networking gear, ceased major operations after the ban was ordered in April.

The export ban forced ZTE (ZTCOF) to halt nearly all of its operations, putting the company's future in doubt.

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