The United States and China are close to an agreement that would see the ZTE ban lifted, Reuters is reporting this Tuesday. According to people familiar with the matter, there has been a “handshake agreement” between the two sides.
Sources decided to stay anonymous because the negotiations are confidential and ongoing.
The sources are saying that U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Chinese Vice Premier Liu He have been talking in Washington last week and have found a general solution. China will buy more US agricultural products, and will remove tariffs on imported farm goods, in exchange for the ban to be lifted.
However, even if the deal does go through, it won’t mean “business as usual” for ZTE – they will probably still face changes of management and at board level.
The US government has banned its companies from doing business with ZTE because the Chinese company exported its goods, built with US partners, to North Korea and Iran, countries under U.S. embargo.
Following the ban, ZTE basically ended up on life support, with its employees saying they show up for work, but they essentially have nothing to do. ZTE said if the ban doesn’t get lifted, it would effectively cease to exist. US president Donald Trump also said the US might offer ZTE a ‘life-saving concession’, a move which was criticised by many U.S. officials.
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