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US allows ZTE to work with American tech companies despite trade sanctions

Chinese handset maker is given a reprieve from export sanctions imposed earlier this year after the Commerce Department accused it of selling products containing US technology to Iran.

Chinese phone maker ZTE will be allowed to continue to work with US suppliers.
Josh Miller/CNET

The US government has once again temporarily lifted sanctions against Chinese telecommunications equipment maker ZTE so that it can continue working with US technology suppliers, according to several news reports.

On Thursday, the US Commerce Department said that until at least November 28, the Chinese company can work with US software and component suppliers to export its telecommunications products, including Google Android smartphones. ZTE has been in the doghouse with US authorities since March when the Commerce Department accused it of violating rules restricting exports of US technology to Iran.

The US government slapped the company with sanctions that hurt the Chinese company's ability to get access to US technology needed for its telecommunications products. ZTE agreed to work closely with the US to repair its damaged reputation.

Two weeks after announcing the sanctions, the US granted ZTE its first temporary reprieve from the restrictions through June, according to The Wall Street Journal. The agency renewed the reprieve in June, extending it until August 30. And now ZTE is good to go until the end of November, unless that matter is cleared up before then.