However, a new ban has been put in place by the United States Department of Commerce which will make it impossible for ZTE to source processors from Qualcomm and components from other suppliers based in the United States.
The Chinese company, which sells smartphones in the United States, pleaded guilty previous year in federal court in Texas for conspiring to violate US sanctions by illegally shipping USA goods and technology to Iran.
Secretary of Commerce Wilbur L. Ross, Jr. today announced that the U.S. Department of Commerce's Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) has imposed a denial of export privileges against Zhongxing Telecommunications Equipment Corporation, of Shenzhen, China ("ZTE Corporation") and ZTE Kangxun Telecommunications Ltd. of Hi-New Shenzhen, China ("ZTE Kangxun") (collectively, "ZTE").
But Commerce Department investigators said the company made additional false statements multiple times about having taken actions against the employees responsible, when they had not.
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ZTE did not disclose the fact it paid full bonuses to employees who engaged in illegal conduct, and failed to issue letters of reprimand, the department said. "This egregious behavior can not be ignored", Secretary Ross said. "That was in response to the USA asking for the information".
A senior department official tells Reuters, in no uncertain terms, that the company, "provided information back to us basically admitting that they had made these false statements".
"ZTE misled the Department of Commerce". ZTE paid almost $900 million in fines and fired multiple employees in accordance with the court.
Chinese smartphone maker ZTE has been hit with U.S. export restrictions related to charges that it illegally shipped telecom equipment to Iran and North Korea.
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The official said there is no "off ramp" for the company to seek a reversal of the blockade.
ZTE didn't respond to calls seeking comment that were made after business hours in China.
From January 2010 to March 2016, the company shipped $32 million in U.S. cellular network equipment to Iran, and made 283 shipments of cell phones to North Korea, with the full knowledge of the highest levels of company management, officials said.
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