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A ZTE presentation at a conference in Barcelona. Photo: Miquel Benitez/Getty Images

After three months and the effective shutdown of phone maker ZTE, the Commerce Department has officially lifted a ban on American suppliers selling to the Chinese company, reports Reuters, and ZTE shares are soaring.

Why it matters: The fact that a ban on American parts prompted ZTE to shut down operations is a clear example of the significant leverage U.S. tech companies have over China. But Chinese President Xi Jinping was able to successfully lobby President Trump and save ZTE. That sets a dangerous precedent for U.S.–China negotiations on trade and intellectual property theft.

The backdrop: ZTE is a repeat violator of U.S. sanctions — it sold equipment with American parts to North Korea and Iran, and has been labeled a national security threat by the Pentagon. As a result, ZTE phones have been banned from military bases due to concerns about Chinese espionage.

  • The details: The Chinese phone maker held up its end of the Commerce Department's deal, paying a $1 billion fine for violating U.S. sanctions and placing $400 million in a U.S. bank escrow account. The company has also made changes to its top leadership. As a result, Commerce lifted what would have been a seven-year ban on American companies doing business with ZTE.
  • What to watch: U.S. lawmakers are refuting the Trump administration's move and working to reinstate the ban by including it in defense legislation.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
34 mins ago - Economy & Business

Scoop: Red Sox strike out on deal to go public

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The parent company of the Boston Red Sox and Liverpool F.C. has ended talks to sell a minority ownership stake to RedBall Acquisition, a SPAC formed by longtime baseball executive Billy Beane and investor Gerry Cardinale, Axios has learned from multiple sources. An alternative investment, structured more like private equity, remains possible.

Why it matters: Red Sox fans won't be able to buy stock in the team any time soon.

Trump political team disavows "Patriot Party" groups

Marine One carries President Trump away from the White House on Inauguration Day. Photo: Patrick Smith/Getty Images

Donald Trump's still-active presidential campaign committee officially disavowed political groups affiliated with the nascent "Patriot Party" on Monday.

Why it matters: Trump briefly floated the possibility of creating a new political party to compete with the GOP — with him at the helm. But others have formed their own "Patriot Party" entities during the past week, and Trump's team wants to make clear it has nothing to do with them.

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