Thursday, January 2, 2020

GOLDSTEIN: Trudeau should tell Huawei thanks, but no thanks

GOLDSTEIN: Trudeau should tell Huawei thanks, but no thanks

Huawei Technologies Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou leaves her home to appear for a hearing at the Supreme Court of British Columbia in Vancouver, Sept. 23, 2019. 
Huawei Technologies CEO and founder Ren Zhengfei’s announcement that he plans to move its U.S. research centre to Canada is a gift horse Prime Minister Justin Trudeau should look in the mouth.
Ren is the father of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou, arrested in Vancouver last December and now fighting extradition to the U.S., where she’s wanted on charges of conspiracy to commit bank and wire fraud, intended to violate American sanctions against Iran.
Meng denies the charges which have not been tested in court.
The reason Ren’s announcement — reported by the Globe and Mail — should be viewed with concern in Canada is the reason he gave for making it — that because of U.S. sanctions against Huawei over security concerns, Huawei will be unable to call, email or otherwise contact its American employees.
While Huawei denies allegations of wrongdoing, if the Americans are that concerned about the Chinese telecommunications giant, which has close ties to the Chinese government — Ren, a billionaire, was formerly a technologist in the People’s Liberation Army — Canada should be concerned as well. Particularly given the extraordinary efforts the Chinese government has undertaken on Huawei’s behalf to free Meng, demonstrating its exalted standing with China’s dictators.
Those measures include charging Canadian diplomat Michael Kovrig and businessman Michael Spavor with espionage in apparent retaliation, jailing them for a year (while Meng is free on bail), and launching a trade war against Canada to pressure the Trudeau government to release Meng.
Ren’s interview with the Globe suggests he blames the U.S. more than Canada for Meng’s detention, describing it as American “political interference” to “crush” Huawei, with his daughter “only used as a pawn.”
Apparently offering a carrot to the Trudeau government, Ren said if Canada needs capital as part of its national strategy to develop artificial intelligence and attract global talent, “I can give them money. I am richer than the Canadian government.”
Ren’s reported generosity aside, the problem is the number of countries now expressing security concerns about Huawei.
It’s not just the Americans. Germany, France, the U.K., Australia, Japan, New Zealand, Poland and the Czech Republic have all expressed security concerns about Huawei, including allegations of spying and intellectual property theft, with many restricting or banning Huawei’s activities inside their borders.
While Huawei denies allegations of wrongdoing, similar concerns have been expressed by some security experts in Canada.
Meanwhile, the Trudeau government has not yet decided whether to allow Huawei to supply Canada with equipment for next generation 5G technology.
This will revolutionize global wireless telecommunications, impacting everything from hand-held devices, to electric cars, power grids and how we communicate with each other.
Huawei already has a significant presence in Canada, with about 1,200 employees at its headquarters in Markham, Ont., a research and development centre in Ottawa (which would presumably be expanded under Ren’s announcement), and smaller operations across the country.
According to the Globe and CBC, Huawei has given $56 million to Canadian universities for research and development projects.
It has a sponsorship agreement with Hockey Night in Canada until the end of 2020.
Huawei’s supporters say the concerns levelled against it about espionage are long on allegations but short on evidence, that its 5G technology is superior to its competitors and that security concerns can be addressed without banning Huawei from the global telecommunications industry.
But surely, based on the precautionary principle, the Trudeau government should be looking at less involvement with Huawei, not more.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments always welcome!