In a surprising move, U.S. President Donald Trump on Sunday tweeted that he has asked the Commerce Department to help Chinese technology company ZTE Corp "get back into business, fast."
Chinese telecom equipment maker ZTE suspended its main operations in the U.S. after the U.S. Commerce Department banned American supplies to its business for seven years.
Trump's offer to help comes as Chinese and U.S. officials prepare for talks in Washington with China's top trade official Liu He to resolve the trade dispute between the world's two largest economies.
ZTE pleaded guilty last year to conspiring to violate U.S. sanctions by illegally shipping U.S. goods and technology to Iran and entered into an agreement with the U.S. government. The ban is the result of ZTE's failure to comply with that agreement, the Commerce Department said.
In addition, a legislation was previously introduced to block the U.S. government from buying or leasing telecommunications equipment from ZTE or Huawei, citing concern the companies would use their access to spy on U.S. officials.