The ZTE Corp. logo is displayed on networking equipment at a trade fair in Beijing, China. (Photographer: Nelson Ching/Bloomberg)

ZTE Nears Final Hurdle for U.S. to Lift Equipment-Buying Ban

(Bloomberg) -- ZTE Corp. is close to clearing the final hurdle needed for the Trump administration to lift sanctions that prevented the Chinese telecommunications giant from buying American equipment, a U.S. Commerce Department official said.

The Shenzhen-based company has paid a $1 billion fine and another $400 million in escrow will be completed in a couple of days, the official said.

ZTE got into trouble in 2016 for violating U.S. laws restricting the sale of American technology to Iran and North Korea. The company agreed to pay a big fine and penalize the workers involved. But Commerce said in April that ZTE violated the agreement, and imposed the seven-year ban -- a penalty the company said would force it to shut down.

In May, Trump said on Twitter that he planned to walk back those penalties, and the administration later announced the new deal with ZTE. A bipartisan group of lawmakers remains concerned about ZTE’s threat to U.S. national security and want legislation aimed at stronger penalties.

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