Trump may ban U.S. companies from buying Huawei tech: report
Published Friday, December 28, 2018 10:00PM EST
U.S. President Donald Trump may issue an executive order in the new year that would bar American companies from using equipment made by Chinese telecommunications companies Huawei and ZTE due to spying concerns, according to a report from Reuters, a U.K.-based news agency.
Such an executive order would follow similar moves by countries like Australia and New Zealand, which have banned Chinese companies like Huawei from participating in the development of their next-generation 5G mobile networks. Other countries are currently mulling similar actions.
Digital technology expert Ritesh Kotak told CTV News that he understands why countries are taking action.
“Beijing at any time can request these organizations to share information if it’s related to national security or national interests,” he explained. “(And) if the technology itself is compromised at the hardware level, then all communication -- everything that occurs on the network -- would essentially be compromised and could be subject for espionage or spying.”
Canada -- which arrested Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou on Dec. 1 at the behest of U.S. authorities over the alleged violation of Iran sanctions -- is facing increasing pressure from its allies to make a similar move.
“We are right to be concerned,” cybersecurity expert Brian O’Higgins told CTV News. “If a government is motivated to do something, they will put bugs in equipment… Even if you have access to the source code and can pour over it for many weeks or months, if something is carefully hidden, it’s unlikely anyone will find it.”
In apparent retaliation over Meng’s arrest, two Canadians -- former diplomat Michael Kovrig and entrepreneur Michael Spavor -- were detained in China in December. A third, Sarah McIver, was recently released after being arrested over visa issues.
Trade experts say that the mounting tensions between China and Canada have essentially halted any chances of a trade deal being inked between the two countries in the near future.
“Trying to sell any kind of trade deal to the Canadian population, I just don’t see it happening,” Patrick Leblond, who teaches public and international affairs at the University of Ottawa, told CTV News. “So I think any trade deal, if there is ever one between Canada and China, is years away.”
For its part, Huawei said in a statement that it “has been operating in Canada for ten years and there has never been an issue.”
“Huawei remains fully committed to do whatever is required by the government of Canada in our operations now and in the future,” the company added.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has previously stated that any decision on banning Huawei from Canada’s 5G networks will be left up to national security experts.