Chinese handset maker ZTE has now reportedly signed an agreement to pay $1.7 billion in order to lift the U.S. Commerce Department ban currently preventing the company from trading with the country. Breaking that figure down, the amount is said to be based on a $1 billion fine. That, however, is expected to be topped with a further $400 million in escrow. The company had previously paid approximately $361 million in settlements when its trouble with the U.S. government began.
For those who may not have been following the news, ZTE has been featured frequently in the news as a result of several alleged trade violations – among other things. This particular ban, however, stems from the company's involvement in trade with Iran and North Korea before failing to follow through with the consequences for that violation. Although the reports surrounding the news only mention financial burdens to be taken on by the Chinese smartphone manufacturer, earlier reports have suggested that the Trump administration may include other sanctions in any such deal. Those have been said to include agreeing to unrestrained access to ZTE's sites, online documented declarations of US component costs, and a possible internal restructuring. It isn't immediately clear whether any of those have been implemented as part of the deal or what bearing the deal might have with the company's other ongoing legal problems.
Meanwhile, there isn't any guarantee that any such agreement has been signed. Sources have reported that, according to the U.S. Commerce Department, there hasn't been any deal. ZTE itself has also declined to provide comment on the matter. So the reports of a deal being signed should certainly be taken with a grain of salt and a helping of skepticism, for now. With that said, that doesn't necessarily rule out the possibility, either. It's possible that a deal comparable to that in the report is currently being discussed but that there are a few details which still need to be worked out. Whatever the case turns out to be, ZTE has been facing at least a few serious challenges since the ban was instituted. That's mostly down to the fact that it cannot use components from companies such as Qualcomm and Broadcom. It also made it impossible to access software components from U.S. companies – including Google's core Android components. So the company, at the very least, is likely more than ready to put the whole matter in the past.