According to The Verge (via The Wall Street Journal), a Texas court on Tuesday overturned US bans against ZTE on the sale of US-made products to Iran and North Korea.
ZTE has been under sanctions since 2017 for allegedly selling US-made equipment to Iran and North Korea, leading to a ban on the sale of ZTE products in the US. Both countries are under heavy sanctions from the United States government for developing nuclear programs. As a result of violating sanctions against the two countries, ZTE has to pay $1.2 billion in fines.
ZTE is not the only Chinese telecommunications company subject to these sanctions. The US government has also imposed them on other countries. For example, Huawei is one company that has suffered the most from these restrictions.
Of course, violating sanctions is not the only accusation against ZTE. The company is also dealing with a visa fraud case. The case is pending in Georgia, alleging that a ZTE researcher and professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology abused the US visa system to bring Chinese nationals to the US to work for the company.
As this is a separate case and pending, US District Judge Ed Kinkeade has not punished ZTE for alleged visa fraud. However, the company must remain responsible to the court.
ZTE and other Chinese telecommunications companies still pose a threat to US national security
ZTE has been on the US economic blacklist since 2018, and lifting the restrictions will allow the company to make a fresh start in the country. Of course, it should be noted that the attitude of US officials towards Chinese telecommunications companies is not very positive. Asking the US government to ban officials from using Huawei or ZTE products.
The purchase of telecommunications equipment from Chinese companies is currently prohibited for US telecommunications providers. The Federal Communications Commission also plans to replace the old ZTE and Huawei equipment used in the country’s telecommunications network. The replacement will cost about $5.6 billion.
Most of the sanctions against Chinese telecom companies were imposed during Donald Trump’s presidency. Of course, Joe Biden has also imposed sanctions on Huawei, ZTE and other Chinese companies. The Chinese telecommunications companies are said to be collaborating with the Chinese government on espionage and censorship.