The U.S. Commerce Department lifted a ban on Chinese smartphone maker ZTE on Friday after it paid a $1.4 billion penalty levied by the U.S. government.
"While we lifted the ban on ZTE, the Department will remain vigilant as we closely monitor ZTE's actions to ensure compliance with all USA laws and regulations", Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said in a statement.
ZTE will be able to resume activity in full when the export ban is lifted, but, according to Bloomberg, the company is facing around $3 billion in losses from the moratorium it has been subjected to, which saw them lose access to the chips and other components the company needed in order to continue manufacturing networking gear and smartphones. President Donald Trump has said he's prepared to put tariffs on as much as $450 billion worth of Chinese exports. The Trump administration said that ZTE had lied to United States officials about punishing employees who violated United States sanctions against North Korea and Iran.
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"We write to express our strong support for measures. that would reinstate U.S. government penalties against ZTE, a Chinese state-directed telecommunications company, and modernize the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States", the senators wrote in the letter, which was sent on Thursday.
It will now operate with a 10-year suspended ban hanging over its head, which the United States can activate if it finds new violations. Finally, ZTE also has replaced the entire board of directors and senior leadership for both entities.
The $1 billion penalty was sent to the U.S. Treasury last month. Last month, the Senate voted unanimously to reinstate the ban on the company citing national security concerns. He said ZTE buys parts from USA companies and that the deal was "also reflective of the larger trade deal we are negotiating with China and my personal relationship with President Xi".
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As of Friday, ZTE was no longer on the Commerce Department's "denied persons list", Reuters reported.
The export ban forced ZTE (ZTCOF) to halt nearly all of its operations, putting the company's future in doubt.
They pushed for the inclusion of legislation to reinstate the ZTE ban in the National Defense Authorization Act, or NDAA, a must-pass defence policy bill.
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