ZTE asks Commerce to reconsider business ban

ZTE asks Commerce to reconsider business ban
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Chinese phone maker ZTE has asked the Department of Commerce to suspend its business ban on the company, it said in a financial disclosure.

Commerce, last month, decided to impose a seven-year ban on American companies selling equipment and software to ZTE, after finding that it violated sanctions rules by conspiring to sell equipment to Iran.

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ZTE is very reliant on its business dealings with U.S. firms and the ban would dramatically damage its business, according to analysts.

Though Commerce has said its actions are based on ZTE violating sanctions, it comes amid a larger wave of action from the U.S. government against Chinese technology firms.

The White House last year twice blocked Chinese acquisitions of American firms and conservative lawmakers in Congress have pushed for legislation that would bar Chinese companies from getting contracts with the U.S. government and military, citing national security concerns.

Many observers see these moves as a part of a trade skirmish between the two countries as the U.S. has imposed tariffs on a number of Chinese goods, and China has retaliated.

Late last month, the Department of Justice reportedly began probing China’s largest phone maker, Huawei, over similar alleged sanctions violations against Iran.

ZTE's request comes after the conclusion of the trade talks between China and a group led by Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinTreasury staffer quits after being implicated in college admissions scandal: report China doesn't need World Bank's loans, just as Trump says Trump admin hits Iranian shipping network, airline with new sanctions MORE in Beijing last week.

Mnuchin said he had "good conversations" with China regarding trade. The country also reportedly stressed its interest in "adjusting" Commerce's blow to ZTE.