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China’s ZTE says probation ends after clash with Washington

BEIJING (AP) – ZTE Corp said yesterday a United States (US) judge has allowed a probation period to end after the telecom equipment maker was nearly destroyed in a clash with Washington over its dealings with Iran and North Korea.

In 2018, then-US President Donald Trump barred ZTE’s access to American components amid rising tension with Beijing over technology and security. The company had pleaded guilty the previous year to shipping equipment to Iran and North Korea in violation of US rules and agreed to pay a USD1.2 billion fine.

ZTE agreed to pay an additional USD1 billion, replace its executives and be scrutinised by US-appointed monitors to regain access to US technology.

The company sells smartphones and network equipment that use American processor chips and other technology.

The company said its probation ended as planned on Tuesday after a federal judge in Texas declined to take further action.

ZTE promised in a statement to make compliance with laws and regulations “the cornerstone of its strategic development”.

A visitor walks past a display from Chinese technology firm ZTE at the PT Expo in Beijing. PHOTO: AP