ZTE’s woes have been much publicised in recent weeks and after they were precluded from buying products from US companies it seemed that they were dead in the water. Now after some high level negotiations it seems that an agreement has been reached that will allow ZTE to operate once again.

In an interview with CNBC US Commerce Secretary, Wilbur Ross stated that the Trump administration had reached a “definitive agreement” with ZTE that will open up the US doors to them again. He went on to outline the terms of the agreement which are a US$1 billion fine and that they must install a new management and compliance team, handpicked by the US.

This is apparently the “largest settlement fine that has ever been brought by the Commerce Department against any violator of export controls” and is designed to be a strong deterrent against any further transgressions not only by them but other companies.

We are literally embedding a compliance department of our choosing into the company to monitor it going forward. They will pay for those people but the people will report to the new chairman.

Not only is there a US$1 billion fine but there is an extra US$400 million held in escrow to cover any future indiscretions. At the same time the US would retain the ability and power to block them once again if required. The deal helps the US companies that supplied products to the Chinese company maintain their bottom line.

At this stage the deal is yet to be ratified by US Congress with many of them already expressing concern over letting ZTE off the hook.

Their concern is over their introspective evaluations they are making with respect to “national security” but the ban was over selling to Iran and North Korea and their non-compliance with the original sanctions. How this “national security risk” can carry across to a ban about something entirely different but for ZTE’s sake we hope it doesn’t.

Get out the popcorn, ZTE may be about to be back in business but not before some June fireworks in the US Congress. If ZTE do get let back in the door I hope they swing for the fences with their first Android offering.

Source: CBS News.