Reports indicate that the US federal government plans to temporarily lift the export ban it had placed on the Chinese multinational telecommunications equipment company, ZTE Corporation, earlier this month. The company recently got into a bit of hot water with US authorities for allegedly violating a trade embargo placed on Iran. To cut a long story short, the US Department of Commerce had placed trade restrictions on the company after a four year-long investigation by the FBI and other US federal agencies apparently showed that the Shenzhen, Guangdong-based company was maintaining trade relations with a network operator in the Middle-Eastern country in spite of sanctions put in place by the US.
For its part, the US Department of Commerce says that it has been â€œin active, constructive discussionsâ€ with ZTE for the past week, which has now resulted in the temporary relief. According to a senior official in the Department of Commerce, â€œAs part of the effort to resolve the matter, and based upon binding commitments that ZTE has made to the U.S. government, Commerce expects this week to be able to provide temporary relief from some licensing requirementsâ€. He also made it clear that the relief will only be a temporary one, and will be contingent on ZTE abiding by its commitment to the US government. According to Reuters, further details regarding the decision will be published later this week in the U.S. Federal Register.
One thing to note here is that a section of the bureaucrats within the US have consistently been apprehensive about using network equipment from Chinese companies like ZTE and Huawei, given their association with the Communist regime in their homeland. Various other reports have also indicated that Iran is not the only hostile State that ZTE might have had business links with in the past. Cuba, North Korea, Sudan and Syria are also some of the markets where ZTE allegedly has done business in, despite strong US sanctions on each of these countries. Meanwhile, in this particular case, ZTE says that it has been fully co-operating with the investigating agencies and that it stands committed to complying with the laws of all its host nations, including the USA.