Canada bans Chinese telecommunications Huawei and ZTE from 5G networks
Canada bans Chinese telecommunications Huawei and ZTE from 5G networks

Canada bans Chinese telecommunications Huawei and ZTE from 5G networks

Canada said it would move to ban Huawei and ZTE from providing 5G services in the country, in the latest move by a US ally to target Chinese telecommunications equipment manufacturers.

Fran├žois-Philippe Champagne, Canada’s Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, said on Thursday that the country intended “to ban the inclusion of Huawei and ZTE’s products and services in Canada’s telecommunications system”.

“Providers who already have this equipment installed will be asked to stop using it and remove it,” he said. The federal government will not compensate companies for the removal of Huawei and ZTE equipment, he added. Equipment used for 4G networks must also be removed.

The United States and many of its allies have in recent years expressed strong concern over Huawei’s global expansion, amid concerns that the company has ties to China’s military and facilitates Beijing’s cyber espionage around the world.

“We’ve been waiting for this for three years,” Alykhan Velshi, Huawei’s vice president of corporate affairs for the Americas, told CBC, Canada’s public broadcaster, in an interview.

“We are disappointed with the result, but what the government announced is the intention to introduce legislation, but right now there is no ban in the book on selling Huawei equipment.”

Velshi said the federal government has not told Huawei what national security threat the company’s equipment poses to Canada.

“It is up to the government to provide evidence that Huawei is a national security threat, as they claim. They have not done so.”

The Chinese Embassy in Canada criticized the decision as politically motivated, saying that Beijing would take “all necessary measures” to protect its businesses.

The embassy also said Huawei and ZTE have strong cybersecurity registers, and Ottawa’s decision not only harmed Chinese interests but violated the principles of free trade and market economies.

The United States had long called on Canada to join the other members of the Five Eyes Intelligence Sharing Network – which includes the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand – to ban Huawei from their domestic telecommunications networks. It has Britain and Australia imposed restrictions which prohibits the Chinese company from operating in their markets.

Huawei’s network equipment is used by a number of major Canadian telecommunications companies. In December, the Chinese group said Canadian telecommunications had spent more than 700 million C $ (546 million US $) on their technology.

The Trump administration took several measures to ban Huawei from participating in 5G networks in the United States as part of an attempt to hamper the Shenzhen-based company.

It also put the group on a blacklist for the trade department, known as the “entity list”, which banned US companies from supplying technology to Huawei and imposed additional restrictions that required any company that had to supply products that contained US technology to apply for an export control license.

The ban on Huawei comes eight months after Ottawa allowed Meng Wanzhou, the company’s CFO and daughter of founder Ren Zhengfei, to back to China after three years of detention in Vancouver. Meng had been detained on charges of criminal fraud and was detained pending a Canadian court ruling on whether she could be extradited to the United States. She was released after reaching an agreement with U.S. prosecutors.

A few hours after Meng’s release, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that two Canadian nationals who had been detained in China for more than three years – Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig, known as “the two Michaels” – had been released.

Some experts speculated that Canada had previously been reluctant to ban Huawei despite US pressure because it wanted to make sure it could secure the release of the two men.

Days after the release of Meng and the “Two Michaels,” Trudeau said a decision on whether Huawei should ban 5G equipment was weeks away. But months passed before the announcement on Thursday.

“We took the time we needed to do that review, consult with allies,” Champagne said. “When dealing with national security, take the time to do things properly.”

The pressure on Huawei has grown in recent years as the United States cracks down on Chinese companies that they believe allow Beijing’s espionage or carry out activities that could threaten US national security.

That It writes the Financial Times this month that the Biden administration plans to impose harsh sanctions on Hikvision, a Chinese surveillance camera company that has been accused of easing human rights violations in Xinjiang.

Further reporting by Maiqi Ding in Beijing and Edward White in Seoul

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