Trump administration tells ZTE it can restart some operations

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The US has said it will allow the Chinese tech giant ZTE to temporarily re-start some business activities as it considers lifting a seven-year ban imposed on the firm earlier this year.

In April, the US found ZTE had violated trade bans with Iran and North Korea.

The firm was then blocked from buying parts from US suppliers - a move that threatened to destroy its business.

The order allowing ZTE to resume some business comes amid heightened trade tensions between the US and China.

Under the new order, state-owned ZTE would now be allowed to support its existing handsets in the US and continue operation of existing networks, among some other activities.

But the US commerce department said the existing ban slapped on the firm in April remained "in full force and effect".

ZTE is currently attempting to meet a range of requirements that would allow it to resume full business activities in the US - which have included paying a $1bn penalty, hiring a compliance team chosen by the US, and replacing much of its management board, among other measures.

The Trump administration's deal-making with Beijing, that would see the ban on ZTE lifted, has been criticised by a group of bipartisan US Senators who want to see the ban kept in place citing national security and other concerns.

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