According to a senior congressional aide, the U.S. reached a deal on Friday that will lift the U.S. export ban that has practically put China's ZTE out of business. The ban prevented the Chinese phone and network equipment manufacturer from sourcing hardware, software and components from the states. ZTE had violated U.S. sanctions by selling goods and services to Iran. The Commerce Department fined the company over $1 billion, and ordered that ZTE employees involved in the Iran sales have their bonuses withheld and a letter of reprimand placed in their files. The agency also ordered a seven year export ban be placed against the manufacturer, although that was stayed as long as ZTE kept its corporate nose clean. When ZTE failed to comply in a timely fashion, the export ban was put into effect.
In exchange for lifting the export ban, ZTE has agreed to a substantial fine, and will shake up its management team. In addition, U.S. compliance officers will be installed inside the company. The ban was originally supposed to run to March 2025.
In 2012, a Congressional Report called ZTE and Huawei threats to National Security and suggested that their products be banned from the U.S. For the first quarter of this year, ZTE was the fourth largest smartphone brand in the U.S. based on sales. The company had 10% of the stateside market during the three month period.