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ZTE clears last major hurdle to lifting US export ban

Virtually everything is in place.
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Gilles Sabrie/Bloomberg via Getty Images

ZTE is almost done meeting the US' conditions for lifting an export ban... almost. The Chinese mobile and telecom gianthas signed an escrow agreement with the Commerce Department that represents the last major hurdle before it can get back to business as usual. As soon as ZTE deposits $400 million into the escrow, the US will let ZTE use American exports under a 10-year suspended denial order. The company's temporary waiver ends on August 1st, so you can expect the money to arrive within a couple of weeks.

The firm has already conceded to numerous demands to resume exports, including a $1 billion fine, an external monitor and sweeping changes to its executive and board membership. Whether or not that's enough is another story. Senators have voted for the export ban to stay in place, and both sides of Congress are in the midst of debating a reconciled version of a bill that might sustain the ban. If it stays and the President signs the bill, the concessions might be for nothing.

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