Huawei Holds Talks With Google Over US Ban

Huawei Founder and CEO Ren Zhengfei gesturing as he attends a session of the World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting in Davos.  FABRICE COFFRINI / AFP

 

Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei on Tuesday said the company was discussing with Google how to deal with a US ban on companies selling or transferring US technology to Huawei.

The talks come after the US internet giant, whose Android mobile operating system powers most of the world’s smartphones, said this week it was beginning to cut ties with Huawei in light of the ban.

READ ALSO: How Huawei Sanctions Can Hurt US Tech Firms

Google is a “highly responsible company,” Ren said, and that the two sides were “discussing how to create a response plan”.

AFP

Huawei Founder Says US Underestimates Company

US Charges Huawei In Technology Theft, Sanctions Violations
FILE PHOTO: A woman uses her smartphone while walking past advertising outside a Huawei store in Beijing on January 29, 2019. WANG ZHAO / AFP

 

Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei on Tuesday shrugged off US attempts to block his company’s global ambitions, saying the United States underestimates the telecom giant’s strength.

Ren spoke to Chinese media days after President Donald Trump issued orders aimed at thwarting Huawei’s business in the United States, the latest salvo in a months-long effort to stop the company’s charge to the top of the leaderboard in next-generation 5G technology.

“The current practice of US politicians underestimates our strength,” Ren said, according to transcripts from state-run media.

“Huawei’s 5G will absolutely not be affected. In terms of 5G technologies, others won’t be able to catch up with Huawei in two or three years,” he said.

Last week, Trump declared a “national emergency” empowering him to blacklist companies seen as “an unacceptable risk to the national security of the United States” — a move analysts said was clearly aimed at Huawei.

At the same time, the US Commerce Department announced an effective ban on American companies selling or transferring US technology to Huawei.

‘Can’t be isolated’

US internet giant Google, whose Android mobile operating system powers most of the world’s smartphones, said this week it was beginning to cut ties with Huawei in light of the ban.

The move could have dramatic implications for Huawei smartphone users, as the telecoms giant will no longer have access to Google’s proprietary services — which include the Gmail and Google Maps apps — a source close to the matter told AFP.

But the Commerce Department on Monday issued a 90-day reprieve on the ban on the transfer of technology by allowing temporary licences.

“The US 90-day temporary licence does not have much impact on us, we are ready,” Ren said.

Huawei has sought to ease customers’ concerns over the Google announcement.

Ren said Huawei and Google are discussing how to respond to the ban, calling the US firm a “highly responsible company”.

A company spokesman in Australia said the US actions “will not impact consumers” with a Huawei tablet or smartphone in the country, or those planning to buy a device in the future.

As for Huawei’s access to key components, Ren said half of chips used in the company’s equipment come from the United States and the other half it makes itself.

“We cannot be isolated from the world,” Ren said.

“We can also make the same chips as the US chips, but it doesn’t mean we won’t buy them,” he said.

He denied reports that German chipmaker Infineon has halted shipments to Huawei.

But analysts say the ban threatens the company’s very survival as it heavily relies on US components.

“If the ban continues, Huawei will be damaged for sure, particularly in smartphones but also in the datacenter and networking markets,” said Patrick Moorhead of Moor Insights & Strategy.

Ask Trump, not me

The Huawei confrontation has been building for years, as the company has raced to a huge advantage over rivals in next-generation 5G mobile technology.

US intelligence believes Huawei is backed by the Chinese military and that its equipment could provide Beijing’s intelligence services with a backdoor into the communications networks of rival countries.

For that reason, Washington has pushed its closest allies to reject Huawei technology, a significant challenge given the few alternatives for 5G.

While Australia has also banned Huawei from its 5G plans, the US has struggled to sway some countries, with Britain having reportedly approved a limited role for the Chinese company to help build a 5G network in the country.

Canada has been dragged into the battle. Its arrest of Ren’s daughter, Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou, in December on a US extradition bid linked to Iran sanctions violations was followed by the arrest in China of two Canadians, including a former diplomat.

“We sacrificed ourselves and families because we have a goal. In order to stand on the world’s summit, for this goal, there will be conflicts with the US sooner or later,” Ren said.

The battle over Huawei has added to tensions in a trade war that has escalated between the world’s top two economies, with both sides exchanging steep increases in tariffs as negotiations have faltered.

China’s envoy to the European Union, Zhang Ming, called the move against Huawei “wrong behaviour”, adding “there will be a necessary response”.

Asked how long Huawei may face difficult times, Ren said: “You may need to ask Trump about this question, not me.”

AFP

How Huawei Sanctions Can Hurt US Tech Firms

A Huawei logo is displayed at a retail store in Beijing on May 20, 2019. FRED DUFOUR / AFP

 

The tough sanctions imposed on Huawei by President Donald Trump could deal a blow to the many US firms that make up the Chinese tech giant’s supply chain.

American firms last year sold an estimated $11 billion worth of components to Huawei, which was put on a blacklist last week by Washington over national security concerns as trade frictions grow between the US and China.

Trump’s executive order could effectively ban makers of US hardware and software from selling to Huawei by requiring a special license from Washington.

The Commerce Department on Monday delayed the sanctions on Huawei for 90 days, saying the additional time was needed to allow for software updates and other contractual obligations.

The agency said it was granting Huawei a “temporary general license” through August 19 allowing for transactions “necessary to maintain and support existing and currently fully operational networks and equipment, including software updates and patches, subject to legally binding contracts and agreements” signed before May 16.

Hardware and software

Bloomberg News reported that US-based chipmakers Intel, Qualcomm, Broadcom and Xilinx have indicated they would halt shipments to the Chinese firm which is the world’s number two smartphone maker and a leader in telecom infrastructure and super-fast 5G networks.

Google said it would comply with the US order, leaving Huawei without access to critical services for the Android operating system such as Gmail and Google Maps.

Microsoft, which supplies the Windows operating system for many Huawei devices, did not respond to an AFP query on how the order might impact the Redmond, Washington-based firm.

Bob O’Donnell of the consultancy Technalysis Research said any ban would almost certainly affect Microsoft.

“If it affects Google I don’t see why it wouldn’t affect Microsoft,” O’Donnell said.

“Any version of Windows comes from Microsoft, since there is no open-source version.”

Moving toward independence

Roger Kay, founder and analyst at Endpoint Technologies Associates, said the ban is likely to accelerate efforts by Huawei and other Chinese firms to develop their own sources of microprocessors and other components.

“The short-term effect on both American and Chinese companies are inevitably negative,” Kay said.

“The longer-term effect is that Huawei and other Chinese companies turn away more sharply from American suppliers.”

Neither Intel nor Qualcomm responded to queries on how they would respond to the order on Huawei.

Avi Greengart, founder of the research firm Techsponential, said a ban on sales to Huawei could hit a wide range of large and small US firms including Corning, which makes the popular Gorilla Glass for smartphones, and Dolby, a producer of video and audio software for handsets.

“When you think about all the software and hardware components you get a pretty big list,” Greengart said.

“The US is a big part of the global supply chain.”

Few firms offered public comments on their response to the Huawei executive order.

But one, California-based Lumentum Holdings, a maker of optical and laser applications, said it would comply with the executive order and that Huawei accounted for 15 percent of its revenue so far in the current fiscal year.

Risks to Apple

Greengart said Apple could also suffer from any protracted crisis over Huawei, estimating the iPhone maker gets about 17 percent of its revenues from China.

Even though Apple might benefit in the premium smartphone market in Europe, “I think the risks are higher than the rewards for Apple,” Greengart said.

“If there is a backlash against Apple in China, that could have damaging long-term effects.”

Greengart said that Google might not see a major impact for the moment.

“Ironically (the ban) won’t affect Google much because Google doesn’t make money selling Android.”

Patrick Moorhead, of Moor Insights & Strategy, said he sees a limited impact on US firms in the short run.

“The impact to the US companies depends on the length of the ban but also how indexed they are in sales to Huawei,” Moorhead said.

“Neither Intel, Google or Nvidia do more than three percent of their business with Huawei, so short-term, it shouldn’t be an issue.”

O’Donnell said a bigger risk is that Huawei and other Chinese firms step up efforts to develop software and hardware that allows them to break free from Silicon Valley.

“The longer-term question is: does this drive Huawei to develop a third mobile platform?” O’Donnell said.

“China is already developing its own technology infrastructure, and this plays into the whole notion of a separate internet in China, which would be a big deal.”

AFP

Google And Android System To Cut Ties With Huawei

US internet giant Google, whose Android mobile operating system powers most of the world’s smartphones, said it was beginning to cut ties with China’s Huawei, which Washington considers a national security threat.

The move could have dramatic implications for Huawei smartphone users, as the telecoms giant will no longer have access to Google’s proprietary services — which include the Gmail and Google Maps apps — a source close to the matter told AFP.

Reports also emerged on Monday that several US chipmakers providing vital hardware for Huawei’s smartphones have stopped supplying the Chinese firm.

In the midst of a trade war with Beijing, President Donald Trump has barred US companies from engaging in telecommunications trade with foreign companies said to threaten American national security.

The measure targets Huawei, the world’s second-biggest smartphone maker, which has been listed by the US Commerce Department among firms that American companies can only trade with if authorities grant permission.

The ban includes technology sharing. Google, like all tech companies, collaborates directly with smartphone makers to ensure its systems are compatible with their devices.

“We are complying with the order and reviewing the implications,” a Google spokesperson told AFP.

“We assure you while we are complying with all US gov’t requirements, services like Google Play & security from Google Play Protect will keep functioning on your existing Huawei device,” Google’s official @Android account tweeted.

Due to the ban, Google will have to halt business activities with Huawei that involve direct transfer of hardware, software and technical services that are not publicly available.

That means Huawei will only be able to use the open source version of Android.

It will need to manually access any updates or software patches from Android Open Source Project, and also distribute the updates to users itself, a source told AFP.

In a statement, Huawei said it would “continue to provide security updates and after-sales services” to all existing smartphones and tablets globally, including those not yet sold.

A person familiar with the matter who requested anonymity told Bloomberg News that Huawei will be unable to offer Google’s proprietary apps and services in the future.

China’s foreign ministry said it was actively following the situation.

“At the same time, the Chinese side supports Chinese enterprises in taking up legal weapons and defending their legitimate rights,” said spokesman Lu Kang.

 5G leader

Huawei is a rapidly expanding leader in 5G technology, and currently has the most advanced and cheapest 5G capacities in the world.

Its smartphones outsold Apple’s iPhones in the first quarter of this year, seizing the California company’s second-place spot in a tightening smartphone market dominated by Samsung.

But the Chinese firm remains dependent on foreign suppliers.

It buys about $67 billion worth of components each year, including about $11 billion from US suppliers, according to The Nikkei business daily.

US chipmakers including Intel, Qualcomm and Broadcom have informed workers that they will stop supplying Huawei until further notice, Bloomberg said Monday, citing people familiar with their actions.

Huawei “is heavily dependent on US semiconductor products and would be seriously crippled without supply of key US components,” said Ryan Koontz, a Rosenblatt Securities analyst, although the Chinese firm is believed to have stockpiles in place.

The ban “may cause China to delay its 5G network build until the ban is lifted, having an impact on many global component suppliers,” he added.

The companies themselves did not comment.

Huawei is the target of an intense campaign by Washington, which has been trying to persuade allies not to allow China a role in building next-generation 5G mobile networks.

Super-fast networking 5G, the fifth-generation successor to today’s decade-old 4G technology which is struggling to keep pace with global broadband demand, promises radically quicker transfers of data.

US government agencies are already banned from buying equipment from Huawei.

Huawei founder and CEO Ren Zhengfei said Saturday that “We have not done anything which violates the law,” adding the US measures would have a limited impact.

Ren’s army background and Huawei’s opaque culture have fueled suspicions in some countries that the firm has links with the Chinese military and intelligence services.

AFP

Huawei Will Not Bow To US Pressure – Founder

The Huawei logo is displayed at a store in Beijing.  FRED DUFOUR / AFP

 

Chinese telecoms giant Huawei is ready to deal with Washington’s crackdown and will reduce its reliance on US components, its founder told Japanese media.

President Donald Trump effectively barred Huawei from the US market on Wednesday and added it to a list which would restrict US sales to the firm amid an escalating trade war with Beijing.

“We have already been preparing for this,” Huawei founder and CEO Ren Zhengfei told a group of Japanese journalists Saturday in his first interview since Trump’s move.

Ren said Huawei would continue to develop its own components to reduce its dependence on outside suppliers.

READ ALSO: Nigerian Peacekeeper Killed In Attack On UN

Huawei is a rapidly expanding leader in 5G technology but remains dependent on foreign suppliers.

It buys about $67 billion worth of components each year, including about $11 billion from US suppliers, according to The Nikkei business daily.

The usually elusive Ren, 74, has come out of the shadows in recent months in the face of increasing pressure on his company.

Ren’s army background and Huawei’s opaque culture have fuelled suspicions in some countries that the firm has links with the Chinese military and intelligence services.

Huawei is also the target of an intense campaign by Washington, which has been trying to persuade allies not to allow China a role in building next-generation 5G mobile networks.

US government agencies are already banned from buying equipment from Huawei.

“We have not done anything which violates the law,” Ren said, adding the US measures would have a limited impact.

“It is expected that Huawei’s growth may slow, but only slightly,” he said, according to The Nikkei.

A former army technician, Ren founded Huawei in 1987 with only $5,000, according to company lore.

Huawei now claims to have nearly 190,000 employees, operates in 170 countries, and reported revenue of more than $100 billion in 2018.

Ren said his company would not yield to pressure from Washington.

“We will not change our management at the request of the US or accept monitoring, as  ZTE has done,” he said, as quoted by The Nikkei, referring to fellow Chinese telecoms giant ZTE which was also targeted by Washington.

ZTE came close to collapse last year after US firms were banned from selling it vital components over its continued dealings with Iran and North Korea.

Trump later reversed the decision and in return, ZTE had to pay a $1 billion fine and accept monitoring by the US Commerce Department.

AFP

China Warns US Over Huawei Ban

Tense Future For US-China Ties, With Or Without Trade Deal
This file picture taken on November 6, 2018 shows a Chinese and US flag at a booth during the first China International Import Expo (CIIE) in Shanghai. PHOTO: JOHANNES EISELE / AFP

 

China warned the United States on Thursday against further harming trade ties after President Donald Trump effectively barred Chinese telecom giant Huawei from the US market, escalating tensions between the world’s top economic powerhouses.

At the same time, Beijing’s diplomatic relations with Ottawa further soured as China formally arrested two Canadians on suspicion of snatching state secrets in a case seen as retaliation over Canada’s arrest of a Huawei executive on a US extradition request.

The spat over Huawei adds to the uncertainty over efforts to revive a deal that would end a bruising US-China trade war after the two sides exchanged fire with tariff hikes in recent days.

The Chinese commerce ministry said on Thursday that it had no information on a US plan to come to Beijing to continue talks after US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said he would likely visit China in the near future.

“The US’s bullying and maximum pressure tactics have caused the China-US economic and trade talks to suffer a serious setback,” ministry spokesman Gao Feng told a weekly press briefing.

Taoran Notes, a social media account with apparent state backing that has followed the trade talks closely, said it did not see any “negotiating sincerity” on the US side in a post late Thursday that was also carried by state media outlets.

“If there are no new substantive actions from the US, then there’s no point in coming, and no point in talking,” it said.

“This being the case, it is better to stop the negotiations completely,” said the comment, republished by official news agency Xinhua.

Trump stepped up the US battle against Huawei on Wednesday when he signed an executive order prohibiting the purchase or use of equipment from companies that pose “an unacceptable risk to the national security of the United States” or the safety of the American people.

While the White House insisted that no particular country or company was targeted, Huawei is likely to be hit by the move amid concerns that its equipment could be used by Chinese intelligence services.

The US Commerce Department followed up with a more direct hit on the tech giant, adding it to a blacklist that will make it much harder for the firm to use crucial US components in its array of phones, telecom gear, databases and other electronics.

“We urge the US to stop its incorrect actions… to avoid doing additional harm to China-US economic and trade relations,” Gao said.

“China has said many times national security issues should not be abused.”

 ‘RIP’ Huawei

The US Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) said it would add Huawei and its affiliates to its “entity list” over alleged Iran sanctions violations.

The listing requires US firms to get a license from BIS for the sale or transfer of American technology to a company or person on the list.

“A license may be denied if the sale or transfer would harm US national security or foreign policy interests,” a Commerce Department statement said.

“This will prevent American technology from being used by foreign-owned entities in ways that potentially undermine US national security or foreign policy interests,” Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said.

And US Senator Tom Cotton, from Trump’s Republican Party, tweeted: “@Huawei 5G, RIP. Thanks for playing.”

American officials have been trying to persuade allies not to allow China a role in building next-generation 5G mobile networks, warning that doing so would result in restrictions on sharing of information with the United States.

US government agencies are already banned from buying equipment from Huawei, a rapidly expanding leader in the 5G technology.

Huawei said “unreasonable restrictions” will infringe upon its rights and raise serious legal issues.

“Restricting Huawei from doing business in the US will not make the US more secure or stronger; instead, this will only serve to limit the US to inferior yet more expensive alternatives,” the firm said in a statement.

Detained Canadians

Canada has also been dragged into the spat after arresting Huawei’s chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou in December on a US extradition warrant related to Iran sanctions violations.

Shortly after, former Canadian diplomat Michael Kovrig and a businessman, Michael Spavor, were detained on national security grounds.

The Chinese foreign ministry said Thursday the two Canadians have now been formally arrested.

Kovrig is “suspected of collecting state secrets and intelligence” while Spavor is suspected of “stealing and illegally offering state secrets” abroad.

“Canada strongly condemns their arbitrary arrest as we condemned their arbitrary detention on Dec. 10,” the Canadian foreign ministry said in a statement to Canadian newspaper The Globe and Mail.

The US portrayal of Huawei as a national security danger dovetails with Washington’s wider complaint that Chinese companies are unfairly protected by Beijing, making fair trade impossible.

Gao, the Chinese commerce ministry spokesman, said that to reach a trade deal all tariffs must be scrapped, demands for Chinese purchases of US goods must be realistic and the pact must be “balanced”.

“The escalation of China-US trade frictions will have a definite impact on the economies of the two countries and the world economy,” he said.

“As far as the Chinese economy is concerned, the impact is completely controllable,” Gao said, adding “China does not fear any pressure, and has the confidence, resolution and ability to respond to any risk and challenge.”

AFP

Huawei’s Meng Wanzhou Sues Canada Authorities Over Arrest

Meng Wanzhou (R), Chief Financial Officer of Huawei Technologies, answers the door for individuals carrying flowers after she was released on bail in Vancouver.  Jason Redmond / AFP

 

Chinese telecoms giant Huawei’s chief financial officer, Meng Wanzhou, has filed suit against Canadian authorities for violating her constitutional rights when she was arrested in Vancouver, her lawyers said Sunday.

As she suffered “serious breaches of her constitutional rights,” she is “seeking damages for misfeasance in public office and false imprisonment” when detained at Vancouver International Airport on December 1, attorneys Howard Mickelson and Allan Doolittle said in a statement.

The 47-year-old businesswoman was changing planes in Vancouver when she was detained at Washington’s request on suspicion of violating US sanctions on Iran — sparking arrests of Canadians in China that were seen as retaliatory.

Her lawyers charge impropriety in the conditions under which Meng was interrogated for three hours by the customs officers, officially as part of a routine inspection, before being served with her official arrest.

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During those three hours, the customs officers searched her phones and computers as well as her luggage, in violation of her rights, the lawyers said.

The complaint was lodged Friday, the same day that Canadian justice officially launched Meng Wanzhou’s extradition process to the United States.

The US Justice Department accuses Huawei and its chief financial officer of circumventing US sanctions against Iran, but also, via two affiliates, stealing trade secrets from US telecommunications group T-Mobile.

The daughter of Huawei’s founder, Meng was released on parole in mid-December in Vancouver, where she owns two residences, on a bond deposit of C$10 million ($6.6 million), wearing an electronic bracelet and handing over her passports.

She is scheduled to appear before a Vancouver judge next Wednesday “to confirm that a writ of court has been issued and to schedule a date for the extradition hearing,” the Canadian court has explained.

The extradition procedure can take months or even years because of the many appeal possibilities.

China is furious over the US charges against Meng, saying they are the product of “strong political motivations” and an attempt to undermine its flagship telecoms company.

Huawei has strenuously denied any wrongdoing.

AFP

Canada Begins Process Of Extraditing Huawei Executive To U.S.

In this file photo taken on December 12, 2018, Meng Wanzhou (R), Chief Financial Officer of Huawei Technologies, answers the door for individuals carrying flowers after she was released on bail in Vancouver. Jason Redmond / AFP

 

Canada’s justice department on Friday began the process of extraditing Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou to the United States to face criminal charges related to alleged Iran sanctions violations.

The Huawei chief financial officer was arrested at Washington’s request on December 1 as she changed planes in Vancouver.

“Today, Department of Justice Canada officials issued an Authority to Proceed, formally commencing an extradition process in the case of Ms. Meng Wanzhou,” said a statement.

The decision, it said, “follows a thorough and diligent review of the evidence in this case,” which was found to be “sufficient” to warrant putting the matter before an extradition judge to decide.

Meng is expected to appear in court on March 6 when prosecutors will present the evidence against her and lay out “detailed arguments” for her extradition.

At the end of the process, if a judge orders an extradition, the attorney general would have the final say on whether or not to hand her over to US authorities.

AFP

Europe Calls For Facts In Huawei Security Row

 

Facts not fears should decide the future of telecoms network security in Europe, industry leaders, and policy chiefs said this week, brushing off U.S. calls for a ban on Chinese vendors.

Europe has become the main battleground in a U.S. campaign to rid Western networks of Chinese telecoms equipment, with Washington accusing Huawei Technologies of spying for Beijing, allegations the company has repeatedly denied.

Mobile operators warn that a blanket ban could delay next-generation 5G connections by years and comments from the world’s second-largest mobile operator Vodafone and European Commission officials at this week’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona suggest a more cautious response is likely.

“You’re going to see a messy, essentially managed response that will probably vary in detail from country to country,” said Forrester analyst Frank Gillett. “In the end it’s about containing and managing the risk of Huawei, as well as any other vendor, but particularly Huawei.”

The security concerns are particularly acute because of the onset of 5G, with operators now making decisions which will govern the future of mobile networks slated to bring super-fast speeds for everything from computer gaming to medical surgery.

Huawei chairman Guo Ping met government and industry partners in Barcelona to give reassurances in the face of the U.S. accusations, people with knowledge of the matter said.

“Let experts decide whether networks are safe or not. The U.S. security accusation of our 5G has no evidence, nothing,” Guo told the Congress on Tuesday.

His comments echoed those of Vodafone boss Nick Read, who called on Monday for the United States to share any evidence it had about Huawei, while the European Commission warned against “premature decisions based on partial analysis of the facts.”

US Charges Huawei In Technology Theft, Sanctions Violations

US Charges Huawei In Technology Theft, Sanctions Violations
A woman uses her smartphone while walking past advertising outside a Huawei store in Beijing on January 29, 2019. WANG ZHAO / AFP

 

The US Justice Department on Monday unveiled sweeping charges against Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei in two cases likely to ratchet up tensions between the two superpowers — including that of a top executive arrested in Canada on a US warrant.

The department unveiled 13 charges against Huawei Technologies, its chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou — the daughter of the company’s founder who is currently out on bail in Canada — and two affiliates related to violating US sanctions on Iran.

Meng’s case has sparked a major crisis between Beijing and Ottawa, which is accused of doing Washington’s bidding.

The indictment was unsealed as China’s top trade negotiator arrived in Washington for high-stakes talks with US officials, possibly complicating the discussions ahead of a March deadline to avert a deepening of their trade war.

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In addition, 10 US federal charges were filed against two Huawei affiliates for stealing robot technology from T-Mobile.

“Both sets of charges expose Huawei’s brazen and persistent actions to exploit American companies and financial institutions, and to threaten the free and fair global marketplace,” said FBI Director Christopher Wray.

China reacted furiously, saying there were “strong political manipulations” behind the case against Huawei.

In a statement sent to AFP, Huawei denied “that it or its subsidiary or affiliate have committed any of the asserted violations of US law set forth in each of the indictments.”

The firm “is not aware of any wrongdoing by Ms Meng (Wanzhou), and believes the US courts will ultimately reach the same conclusion,” it added.

– Extradition request –

Meng — who was arrested in Vancouver on December 1 at Washington’s request — is expected to fight extradition to the United States, amid heavy pressure on Canada from Beijing, whose subsequent detention of two Canadians is seen as an act of retaliation for Meng’s arrest.

Late Monday, Canada’s Justice Department confirmed that officials had received a formal extradition request from the US, reported Canadian broadcaster CBC, with a hearing set for February 6.

Acting US Attorney General Matthew Whitaker said there was nothing in the indictment that alleged Chinese government involvement in either case.

However, he added, “As I told Chinese officials in August, China must hold its citizens and Chinese companies accountable for complying with the law.”

The Chinese foreign ministry accused Washington of using “state power to discredit and crack down on specific Chinese companies in an attempt to strangle the enterprises’ legitimate and legal operations”.

“There are strong political motivations and political manipulations behind the actions,” ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said in a statement, urging Washington to stop “the unreasonable suppression of Chinese companies including Huawei.”

The broader allegations against Meng, filed in federal court in New York, had already been revealed in general terms by Canadian authorities.

They allege that between 2007 and 2017, Meng, Huawei and the subsidiaries sought to mask their business with Iran in violation of US and UN sanctions on the country.

Meng in particular “repeatedly lied” to bankers about the relationships between the companies, especially with Skycom, a Huawei affiliate in Iran, according to the charges.

That violated US laws, the Justice Department said, because the Iran business involved US-dollar transactions processed by banks through the United States.

Huawei and the affiliates also lied to US authorities, obstructing the investigation, they said.

Beijing renewed its demand for the US to drop its warrant against Meng and for Canada to release her.

– ‘Bonuses for stealing tech secrets’ –

The second case charged that Huawei made a concerted effort to steal technology related to a phone-testing robot dubbed Tappy from a T-Mobile USA lab in Washington state.

Engineers of Huawei — which was supplying T-Mobile with phones — took pictures and made measurements of parts of the robot, “even stealing a piece of it,” said Whitaker.

The Justice Department charged that the Chinese company had, in July 2013, offered bonuses to employees “based on the value of information they stole from other companies around the world, and provided to Huawei via an encrypted email address.”

The indictments came as Chinese Vice Premier Liu He arrived in Washington on Monday to lead trade talks this week, according to Chinese state media.

Speaking together with Justice Department officials announcing the indictments, US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross said they were “wholly separate from our trade negotiations with China.”

However, he added: “Commerce will continue to work with our interagency partners to protect US national security interests.”

AFP

Canadian PM Fires Envoy To China After Remarks On Huawei Case

John McCallum / Reuters

 

In an unprecedented move, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Saturday said he had fired his ambassador to China, who prompted a political furor with comments about Huawei’s high-profile extradition case.

John McCallum had embarrassed Trudeau’s Liberal government by saying Huawei Technologies Co Ltd Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou could make a strong argument against being sent to the United States.

Opposition legislators and former ambassadors accused McCallum of unacceptable political interference in an affair which has badly damaged relations between Canada and China.

Meng, the daughter of Huawei’s founder, was arrested in Vancouver last month over alleged violations of U.S. sanctions on Iran.

China subsequently detained two Canadian citizens on national security grounds. A Chinese court later retired a Canadian man who had been jailed for drugs smuggling and sentenced him to death.

“Last night I asked for and accepted John McCallum’s resignation as Canada’s ambassador to China,” Trudeau said in a statement that did not explain his reasons.

Veteran diplomats and experts told Reuters it was the first time a Canadian ambassador had ever been officially fired.

Trudeau said as recently as Thursday that he had no plans to replace McCallum, who apologized the same day for his remarks earlier in the week.

But the Toronto Star newspaper on Friday quoted the envoy as saying that if Washington dropped the extradition request “that would be great for Canada”. McCallum, 68, a long-time former Liberal cabinet minister, is not a trained diplomat.

Brock University professor Charles Burton, a former Canadian diplomat who had served two postings in China, said McCallum’s comments on Meng possibly avoiding extradition had signaled to Beijing that its hard-line tactics were working.

Huawei Fires Chinese Employee Detained In Poland

The Huawei logo is displayed at a store in Beijing on December 6, 2018. The chief financial officer of China’s global telecommunications giant Huawei has been arrested in Canada and faces extradition to the United States, officials said, triggering a strong protest by Beijing, which called for her immediate release.
FRED DUFOUR / AFP

 

Huawei said Saturday it has fired a Chinese employee who was arrested in Poland on espionage allegations, as China’s telecom giant distanced itself from the case amid Western concerns that it could act as a proxy for Chinese security services.

This week’s detention of Wang Weijing follows the December arrest of Huawei’s chief financial officer in Canada and US efforts to blacklist the company internationally over security concerns.

While China’s government has vociferously defended Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou and demanded her release, the firm swiftly sacked Wang, who works at its representative office in Poland.

“His alleged actions have no relation to the company,” Huawei said in a statement to AFP.

“In accordance with the terms and conditions of Huawei’s labour contract, we have made this decision because the incident in question has brought Huawei into disrepute,” it said.

“Huawei complies with all applicable laws and regulations in the countries where it operates, and we require every employee to abide by the laws and regulations in the countries where they are based.”

A Polish man was also arrested for alleged espionage along with Wang on Tuesday. Both men are suspected of having “worked for Chinese services and to the detriment of Poland,” said Polish special services spokesman Stanislaw Zaryn.

He said their apartments and workplaces were searched, adding that the Polish suspect had worked “for several state institutions”.

The Chinese foreign ministry said Friday it was “highly concerned” about the case and later said it was seeking to arrange a consular visit for Wang as soon as possible.

The Chinese embassy in Poland has also asked Warsaw to “effectively ensure the legitimate rights and interests, and humanitarian and safe treatment of the person involved.”

– Western fears –

According to the LinkedIn profile of “Stanislaw Wang” — Wang’s Polish name, according to Polish media TVP — the detained Huawei employee worked at the Chinese consulate in Gdansk, Poland prior to his tenure at the Chinese tech firm.

At Huawei, Wang worked as a public relations director for more than five years before moving into his current role as sales director in 2017.
He is a graduate of the Beijing University of Foreign Studies.

His case is the latest setback for Huawei.

Its chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou was arrested in Vancouver on December 1 on request from the United States, which has accused her of fraud related to violations of Iran sanctions.

Meng is the daughter of Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei, a former Chinese People’s Liberation Army engineer.

Following her arrest, two Canadians were detained in China on grounds of endangering national security, in what has largely been seen as retaliation.

Meng’s arrest sparked a surge of patriotism in China with companies encouraging staff to buy Huawei smartphones — and several companies even offering employees subsidies to buy phones from the home-grown company.

‘No evidence’

Huawei in December said it expects to see a 21 per cent rise in revenue for 2018 despite what it called “unfair treatment” around the world, as several countries banned its telecommunications technology.

Last month, Britain’s largest mobile provider BT said that it would remove Huawei equipment from its cellular network after the foreign intelligence service called the company a security risk.

Australia and New Zealand have also enacted similar bans, leaving Canada the only country in the “Five Eyes” intelligence network not to take steps against the Chinese firm.

Last month, a senior EU official warned that the bloc should be “worried” about Huawei and other Chinese firms.

Huawei has rejected Western concerns, saying there was “no evidence” that it poses a threat to the national security of any country.

Huawei’s business is thriving in many places. Last year the company said it had signed memorandums of understanding for 5G equipment with 45 operators in Asia, Europe and North America.