Huawei Canada should not necessarily expect the resolution of the extradition case against CFO Meng Wanzhou to lead the Canadian government to approve the sale of 5G network equipment to telecom providers here, said a security expert.

“I don’t think it will mean anything to [the sale of ] Huawei equipment unless the Canadian government has parallel conversations with the Chinese regime ”, Christian Leuprecht, professor at Queen’s University and senior security and defense researcher at the Macdonald Laurier Institute, said in an interview. And he doubts that such discussions have taken place.

“Governments always try to avoid links between different issues,” he explained. “For example, if we have a steel tariff dispute and a software softwood lumber dispute with the United States, you’re trying to avoid linking them. You try to negotiate them separately, ”he said. Ottawa “won’t want to be in a position where it could end up making concessions to Huawei.”

On Friday afternoon, a British Columbia judge dismissed the extradition hearing after learning that the United States had withdrawn its request to send Meng there to face charges. The move came after Meng agreed to a deferred prosecution agreement from US officials.

The extradition hearing forced Ottawa to delay a decision on whether Huawei’s equipment posed a security risk and therefore should not be installed by Canadian wireless telecommunications network providers in their latest wireless networks. wire. It has been going on for so long that those with existing Huawei equipment in their networks – mainly Bell and Telus – have chosen other 5G equipment suppliers.

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The arrest in China of Canadians Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig shortly after Meng’s 2018 arrest in Vancouver following an extradition request from the United States further slowed the process. Meanwhile, the United States has regularly pressured Canada – and other countries – to stay away from Huawei network equipment for security reasons.

Leuprecht was interviewed ahead of the news of Spavor and Kovrig’s release and their return to Canada.

When asked if it was still possible that in the future Canada would allow telecom operators to purchase Huawei networking equipment, Leuprecht was skeptical.

“I think the Chinese know they lost this fight,” he said. “We may never see Canada make a formal decision on this – certainly not while there are Canadian hostages being held in Beijing. But the Big Three telecoms have basically said they will pull out of Huawei. The government reports that it has left the door open for Huawei to participate, but in practice I think it has signaled to telecoms that it will take a high risk if it installs Huawei equipment. And the telecoms understood this message.

Meanwhile, Huawei Canada continues to try to have a high business profile here. In January, he noted that the company spent just over $ 261 million on research and development here in 2019, which puts it in 18th place.e among the 100 largest R&D spenders in Canada according to a report by RE $ EARCH Infosource Inc.

Huawei opened a research center in Ottawa in 2009 and has additional R&D facilities in Waterloo, Edmonton, Vancouver, Montreal, Quebec, Kingston and at its Canadian headquarters in Markham, Ontario. It has more than 1,200 researchers and engineers in this country.

On Friday afternoon, Meng appeared by video link before a New York judge where U.S. federal attorney David Kessler said a deferred prosecution agreement had been reached. Washington will decide to dismiss the charges against it if it meets all of its obligations under the agreement, which expires in December 2022. As part of the agreement, the United States withdraws its extradition request to Canada.

At the same time, Meng pleaded not guilty to banking and electronic fraud charges for allegedly misleading financial institution HSBC in 2013 about the telecommunications equipment giant’s business dealings in Iran. At the time, the United States had sanctions against American companies dealing with the country. In short, the charges allege that Meng misled the bank about its close relationship with Skycom Tech Co., which struck a deal with Iran through a UK company. Payments under the deal went through a US branch of HSBC, allegedly in violation of sanctions.

As part of the deferred lawsuit, Meng agreed to a statement of fact, including making false representations to HSBC that Skycom was a business partner when in fact Huawei controlled the company.

The US charges against Huawei Technologies remain. According to a Reuters report, the US Department of Justice is preparing for a lawsuit against Huawei.

After his release, Meng expressed his gratitude to the Canadian government for its adherence to the rule of law and thanked the Canadian people for their tolerance, apologizing for the “inconvenience caused”.

In a tweet, Huawei Canada said “We can’t wait to see #MengWanzhou return home safely to reunite with her family. #Huawei will continue to defend against allegations by the US District Court for the Eastern District of New York. “


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