China's ZTE paid over $2.3bln to US exporters last year

A salesperson stands at counters selling mobile phones produced by ZTE Corp. at an appliance store in Wuhan in central China's Hubei province in a file

China's ZTE paid over $2.3bln to US exporters last year

Chinese technology company ZTE Corp, which this month suspended its main operations after a US Commerce Department ban on American supplies to its business, paid over $2.3 billion to 211 US exporters in 2017, a senior ZTE official said on Friday.

President Donald Trump on Sunday expressed confidence that the US and China would be able to get over their differences on trade, saying that both governments are "working well together" on the issue.

As a presidential candidate, Donald Trump said in 2015: "China, taking our jobs, taking our money".

The firm suspended its main operations after the United States commerce department banned American companies from selling it components for seven years.

President Donald Trump pledged on Sunday to help Chinese phone manufacturer ZTE return to business, days after the company said it would cease "major operating activities" because of the USA government's recent trade restrictions.

Trump's reversal could have a significant impact on shares of American optical components makers such as Acacia Communications and Oclaro which saw their stock prices fall when USA companies were banned from exporting goods to ZTE. "Major operating activities of the company have ceased", ZTE said in a filing Wednesday.

The US accused ZTE of misleading American regulators after it settled charges of violating sanctions against North Korea and Iran.

It's not exactly clear how Trump plans to help ZTE or what he's instructed the Commerce Department to do.

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The Commerce Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Sunday.

Companies in the USA are estimated to provide up to 30% of the components used in ZTE's products, which includes smartphones and complex equipment for telecommunications networks.

Qualcomm last month said it expected lost sales to ZTE to lower its earnings by 3 cents per share in the current quarter.

The company employs around 80,000 people in China.

Against that background, the Trump administration has barred military and government employees from using smartphones from ZTE and fellow Chinese maker Huawei.

ZTE also sells handsets to United States mobile carriers including AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint.

The ban also makes ZTE unable to renew its Android licensing agreement with Google, effectively killing its handset ambitions in every segment of the market. ZTE provides services for 100 million users in India, 300 million users in Indonesia, and 29 million users in Italy, the official said.

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