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US to give ZTE a break on tech exports

The Chinese firm will get a temporary reprieve while it talks to the US government.

ZTE might not be cut off at the knees by US export restrictions... at least, not yet. An unnamed Commerce Department official tells Reuters that the American government will temporarily lift those restrictions in return for ZTE's willingness to come to terms, including an agreement to abide by unknown "binding commitments." It's reasonable to presume that ZTE won't be selling US equipment to Iran, which is what got it into hot water in the first place.

Even a momentary break could be crucial for ZTE. While it's based in China, it still depends heavily on parts from American firms like Intel and Qualcomm -- losing those would force it to make costly design switches and possibly miss out on technology that it needs to stay competitive. We doubt that China will be happy until (and unless) the export limits are removed once and for all, but this at least gives it a chance to breathe.

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