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United States will help China's ZTE 'get back into business'

14 May 2018

Trump tweeted on Sunday, "President Xi of China, and I, are working together to give massive Chinese phone company, ZTE, a way to get back into business, fast".

President Donald Trump on Sunday expressed confidence that the USA and China would be able to get over their differences on trade, saying that both governments are "working well together" on the issue.

USA commentators say the tone of the tweet is a dramatic shift for Mr Trump, who has consistently accused China of stealing U.S. jobs.

He said that the Commerce Department, the United States authority which has imposed the seven-year ban, had been told to "get it done".

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The ban is the result of ZTE's failure to comply with that agreement, the Commerce Department said.

The U.S. ban prevents ZTE from purchasing American hardware and software for the next seven years, which is a period that effectively no tech company in the world would be able to survive unscathed. While a stock exchange filing from the firm revealed it ceased its main operations following the sanction earlier this week, an unnamed official from the manufacturer told CNET that doing so "does not mean we're going away".

USA officials imposed the seven-year ban last month after ZTE allegedly made false statements regarding its settlement of a case involving the illegal sale of goods to Iran and North Korea.

ZTE did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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In April, the Commerce Department penalized ZTE for violating a settlement with the USA government over illegal shipments to Iran and North Korea.

American companies are estimated to provide 25 percent to 30 percent of the components used in ZTE's equipment, which includes smartphones and gear to build telecommunications networks. The US move against ZTE is also a blow to American component makers like Qualcomm, Microsoft and Intel, who sell it billions of dollars worth of equipment every year.

The company employs around 80,000 people in China.

But U.S. officials said this year that ZTE didn't discipline all the employees involved in the violations.

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Lacking critical equipment, ZTE halted operations, stressing in a statement Wednesday that it is "actively communicating with the relevant USA government departments in order to facilitate the modification or reversal" of the Commerce Department's order.

United States will help China's ZTE 'get back into business'