[Update] US Temporarily Relieves Sanctions On ZTE Over Iran Sales

After a nerve-wracking two weeks for one of China’s biggest telecommunications companies, ZTE, it appears sanctions laid against them by the US will be temporarily lifted, easing diplomatic and commercial tensions between the world’s two biggest superpowers.

A senior official at the US Department of Commerce said on Sunday that the sanctions would be temporarily lifted this week, allowing ZTE to once again source components from the US.

The sanctions were put in place earlier this month following a statement by the US Department of Commerce which claimed the Chinese company had violated trade restrictions on Iran by re-exporting US made components to the black-listed country. The blacklist is designed to clamp down on companies that could potentially aid in the development of an Iranian nuclear program.

The restrictions barred ZTE from purchasing US components without going through a complex licensing process that would most likely be denied. The company uses several types of US technology, including Qualcomm chipsets in their smartphones.

ZTE lashed out at the restrictions while the Chinese Ministry of Commerce also expressed “resolute opposition” to the “severe” effects of the move. ZTE has suspended trading for two weeks now, and have pushed back the date for their end-of-year final report, as they reassess targets under the new conditions.

The relaxation of licensing restrictions is expected to be temporary, though it is a positive sign of progress in such a diplomatically sensitive case. More information will be released on the loosened sanctions later this week.

Technode reached out to ZTE to confirm the reports and we will update with any further details.

Related: Could Sanctions Harm ZTE’s US Smartphone Ambitions?