U.S. reached deal to keep Chinese telecom ZTE in business: Congressional aide

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Trump administration told lawmakers that the U.S. government has reached a deal to put Chinese telecommunications company ZTE Corp back in business, a senior Congressional aide said on Friday.

FILE PHOTO – Visitors pass in front of the Chinese telecoms equipment group ZTE Corp booth at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, February 26, 2018. REUTERS/Yves Herman/File Picture

The deal, communicated to officials on Capitol Hill by the Commerce Department, requires ZTE to pay a substantial fine, place American compliance officers at the company and change its management team, the aide said. The Commerce Department would then lift an order preventing ZTE from buying U.S. products.

The White House did not immediately confirm the deal.

“We’ll let you know when we have an announcement on that front,” spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said.

ZTE was banned from buying American technology components for seven years for violations of sanctions against Iran and North Korea. The Commerce Department decision would allow it to resume business with U.S. companies, including Qualcomm Inc, the chipmaker that is a key ZTE supplier.

News of the deal comes a week before U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross is scheduled to visit China for another round of talks amid ongoing trade frictions between the world’s two largest economies.

Reporting by Roberta Rampton and Doina Chiacu; editing by Jonathan Oatis

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