China telecom firm ZTE removed from US trade blacklist

A Chinese national flag and two flags bearing the name of ZTE fly outside the ZTE R&D building in Shenzhen, China

A Chinese national flag and two flags bearing the name of ZTE fly outside the ZTE R&D building in Shenzhen, China

Published Mar 29, 2017


Washington - The US Department of

Commerce will remove Chinese telecommunications equipment maker

ZTE from a trade blacklist on Wednesday after

the company pleaded guilty to violating sanctions on Iran and

agreed to pay nearly $900 million, the agency said in a notice.

Removal from the list marks the end of a tense period for

ZTE, which faced trade restrictions that could have severed its

ties to critical US suppliers.

"By acknowledging the mistakes we made, taking

responsibility for them ... we are committed to a ZTE that is

fully compliant, healthy and trustworthy," said ZTE CEO Zhao Xianming said in an emailed statement.

Last year, the US Commerce Department placed export

restrictions on ZTE as punishment for violating US sanctions

against Iran. The restrictions would have prevented restricted

suppliers from providing ZTE any US-made equipment,

potentially freezing the Chinese handset maker's supply chain.

Over the past 12 months, as ZTE cooperated with US authorities, the US Commerce Department temporarily suspended

the trade restrictions with a series of three-month reprieves,

allowing the company to maintain ties to US suppliers.

Earlier this month, ZTE agreed to pay a total of $892.4

million and pleaded guilty to violating US sanctions by

sending American-made technology to Iran and lying to


The Commerce Department said on Tuesday it would impose

severe restrictions on former ZTE CEO Shi Lirong, whom the

agency accused of approving efforts to skirt sanctions and ship

equipment to Iran.

Read also:  ZTE to plead guilty to evading US sanctions on Iran, N.Korea

The Commerce Department said Shi approved a systematic,

written business plan to use shell companies to secretly export

US technology to Iran. Reuters could not immediately reach Shi

for comment.

The US investigation followed reports by Reuters in 2012

that ZTE had signed contracts with Iran to ship millions of

dollars' worth of hardware and software from some of America's

best-known technology companies.

US authorities have said the size of the financial penalty

against ZTE also reflects the fact that the company lied to

investigators when executives were approached about the


As part of the deal, ZTE will be under probation for three

years and agreed to cooperate in the continuing investigation.


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