Canada will take ‘measured approach’ on possible U.S. ban of Huawei: Morneau
|globalnews.ca 15 May 2019 at 10:18|
If U.S. President Donald Trump follows through on threats to ban Huawei this week, Canada is giving few indications it will consider following suit.
Instead, Finance Minister Bill Morneau said the government will focus on decisions that don’t shake the economy.
“As with anything, we need to take a measured approach to how we deal with companies in Canada and with our international relations,” he said on the way into the Liberal caucus meeting on Wednesday morning.
“Overall, our economy is doing well. We will take decisions that allow us to maintain that progress.”
Reuters reported on Tuesday that Trump is considering using an executive order to ban American companies from using Huawei technology over national security concerns. Those concerns, long-standing in the intelligence community, centre around whether Beijing could order the company to spy for it.
But the potential ban would also escalate a worsening trade war between the U.S. and China that has Canada caught in the crosshairs.
Trump has imposed hundreds of billions of dollars in tariffs on Chinese goods, which increases the cost of those goods for American consumers.
China, in return, has imposed tariffs on American goods coming into its market.
The dispute intensified late last year when Canadian border officials detained Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou during a stopover in Vancouver at the behest of American law enforcement, who charged her and her company in January 2019 with 23 counts of skirting U.S. sanctions on Iran and stealing trade secrets.
Her extradition process is before the courts, and Meng is out on bail.
China, however, detained two Canadians just days after Meng’s arrest and has been holding them in poor conditions with no access to lawyers ever since.
Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor have received only limited consular access, and China has repeatedly linked their detention with the detention of Meng, demanding her release despite the fact that the extradition process is governed by clear legal rules.
Since then, China has blocked the import of Canadian canola and the import of pork from two Canadian producers.
Not long after, prominent U.S. leaders began condemning China for its detention of Kovrig and Spavor and pledged to work for their return.
John Bolton, national security adviser to the U.S. president, and Republican Sen. Jim Risch are two of the prominent Trump supporters who have spoken out in defence of Canada in recent days; former vice-president Joe Biden has done the same.
But even as China has repeatedly demonstrated aggression towards Canadian interests, the government has been mum on whether it shares U.S. concerns about having a Chinese technology company with ties to the ruling party building components of the next-generation 5G spectrum.
Several Five Eyes and Western allies have refused to allow Huawei to bid on the critical or core components of their telecommunications networks.
The Canadian government is currently conducting a review of whether Huawei poses a security threat but has not said when it expects that will be done.