WASHINGTON — U.S. authorities are allowing China’s ZTE Corp. to resume some business with American companies, temporarily easing part of a ban imposed over the tech giant’s exports to Iran and North Korea.
The Commerce Department’s order this week follows a settlement under which ZTE agreed to pay a $1 billion fine, replace its executive team and hire U.S. compliance officers.
ZTE will be allowed to conduct business with American companies to maintain existing telecom networks and mobile phones and to support security features, according to the order by the department’s Bureau of Industry and Security. That permission lasts through Aug. 1.
The company headquartered in the southern city of Shenzhen suspended most operations after it was banned in April from buying U.S. components and technology.
ZTE pleaded guilty in March 2017 and agreed to pay a $1.19 billion penalty for having shipped equipment to Iran and North Korea in violation of U.S. regulations. The company promised to discipline employees involved in the scheme, but the Commerce Department said this week they were paid bonuses instead.
The company had been paying American suppliers an estimated $1.8 billion annually.