ZTE petitions US government to lift sanctions

Beijing (AFP) –


Chinese telecom giant ZTE has asked the US government to lift a ban on sales to the company, which threatens its survival and has added to trade tensions between Washington and Beijing.

The telecom equipment and handset maker said in a filing Sunday that it has submitted a request to the US commerce department for a stay of the export ban, along with supplemental information.

The ban prohibits US companies from selling crucial hardware and software components to the company, with one Chinese investment bank estimating ZTE had only one or two months supply of those items on hand.

Trading in ZTE shares in Hong Kong and Shenzhen has been halted since the US announcement last month.

The tough sanctions come as the battle over technology takes centre stage in a US spat with China over trade and industrial policy.

Washington's control of the company's fate has stirred ire and angst in China and reinforced for Beijing the need to control all parts of the technological supply chain.

Chinese officials asked a high-level US delegation to reconsider the ban during trade talks in Beijing last week.

China made "solemn representations with the US" -- an official diplomatic protest -- during the negotiations and secured a pledge from the trade team to relay the concerns to US President Donald Trump, China's commerce ministry said in a statement Friday.