ZTE’s return to business-as-usual came a step closer, after the US Department of Commerce (DoC) signed an escrow agreement with the vendor.
Once ZTE makes a payment of $400 million – a figure revealed previously – a notice will be issued lifting the denial notice. However, the DoC cautioned until it receives the cash, “the denial order remains in full force and effect”.
The subsequent appointment of a monitor to the company means the “three-pronged compliance regime” – a new 10 year suspended denial order, the $400 million and the monitor – will all be in place.
The DoC described the measures as “the toughest penalty and strictest compliance regime the department has ever imposed in such a case”.
ZTE has made a number of steps to smooth waters with the US, including appointing a new head and revamping its board. While the deal means that ZTE can resume dealing with US technology companies, it is unlikely to make doing business in the US itself easier.
ZTE and fellow Chinese vendor Huawei have been on the receiving end of much scrutiny regarding security issues, and there is little sign that this will ease.