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ZTE escapes US trade blacklist

The US Commerce Department strikes ZTE's name off the trade blacklist after the company admitted to violating trade sanctions placed against Iran.

Josh Miller/CNET

ZTE finally gets a breather -- the Chinese telecommunications giant and phone maker is off the US Commerce Department's trade blacklist after it admitted to illegally exporting tech to Iran.

Earlier this month, ZTE pleaded guilty to violating sanctions that ban the sale of US technology to Iran -- and lying to investigators when questioned about it. The company has agreed to pay settlements amounting to $892 million, and has been placed under a three-year probation, reports Reuters.

The US has had restrictions placed against tech exports to Iran since the '80s when diplomatic relations between both countries ended, but sanctions on Iran have been installed in light of its debatable nuclear program.

In spite of the ban, ZTE had allegedly shipped $32 million worth of items originating from the US to Iran between 2010 and 2016 without obtaining proper export licenses, either "directly or indirectly through a third company," according to the US Department of Justice.

The reports led to ZTE being put on export restrictions by the US Commerce Department last year, although the company was allowed to continue working with US tech suppliers.

ZTE's former CEO Shi Lirong isn't getting away as easily though. The Commerce Department said it would impose severe restrictions on Shi, who allegedly approved efforts to export items to Iran illegally.

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