WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. government will give Chinese telecom equipment and smartphone maker ZTE Corp (000063.SZ) a brief three-month reprieve on tough export restrictions it imposed earlier this month, the Commerce Department said on Tuesday.
The department on March 8 imposed some of the toughest-ever U.S. export restrictions on ZTE for allegedly breaking U.S. sanctions against Iran. The agency said it would ease the restrictions until June 30th.
Experts had said the restrictions would have caused disruption across ZTE's sprawling global supply chain.
The restrictions would have banned U.S. companies from exporting to ZTE any technology, software or equipment such as chips and processors made in the United States. The decision would also have prevented software makers from selling typical office applications like Microsoft Windows - or even providing updates.
The easing, which will suspend the restrictions as of Thursday, could be extended provided that ZTE cooperates with the "U.S. Government in resolving the matter," the Commerce Department said. An agency spokesman declined to comment further.
A ZTE representative could not immediately be reached for comment.
Reporting by Joel Schectman and Susan Heavy in Washington; Editing by Dan Grebler