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article imageChina telecom giant ZTE says it expects lifting of U.S. curbs

By AFP     Mar 22, 2016 in Business

Chinese telecommunications giant ZTE said Tuesday it expects the United States to lift restrictions on its business, amid talks with Washington over allegations it violated trade sanctions against Iran.

Washington earlier this month slapped restrictions on ZTE and three linked companies for illicitly re-exporting controlled items from the US to sanctioned countries including Iran.

The curbs require ZTE to have specific licences before shipping US-made items to the parent company or the other three named firms.

The move threatens the Chinese firm's ability to buy technology hardware and software in the US

"ZTE has committed to, and fully expects to, fulfil all of the commitments in order to be removed permanently from the entity list," ZTE said in a statement, referring to the restrictions.

In the meantime, it said, it had obtained a "temporary general licence".

"This interim relief will enable ZTE to continue serving its major stakeholders as it works with the US authorities to reach a permanent resolution."

The Chinese government condemned the measures when they were imposed, with a commerce ministry official expressing "strong dissatisfaction and firm opposition".

Tuesday's ZTE statement did not give the terms of the licence or say what requirements were met to obtain it.

"ZTE is fully committed to complying with the laws and regulations in the jurisdictions in which it operates, and will be continuing to make further contributions to (the) global telecoms industry," it said.

The case dates back to 2012 when the US Department of Commerce first began investigating the transfer of US technology to Iran, according to media reports.

Washington in January eased several restrictions on doing business with Iran following an international agreement over its nuclear programme.

But sanctions linked to accusations that Tehran supports terrorism remain in force, still largely blocking US companies from business with Iran.

ZTE is China's second-biggest telecoms equipment maker with customers in more than 160 countries.

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