Huawei has announced that it will be moving its U.S. research centre to Canada in response to Trump’s sanctions on the company.
Canada is currently at the centre of a diplomatic dispute between the two superpowers over the extradition of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou, who is also the daughter of company founder Ren Zhengfei.
“It’s obviously political interference from the U.S. I think Canada should ask Trump to reimburse its losses,” Ren told the Globe and Mail.
Meng is wanted by the U.S. in relation to several fraud charges and breaking international sanctions on Iran. She was detained by Canadian authorities last December on an extradition request by the U.S.
Currently, Huawei has extensive research relationships with Canadian post-secondary institutions. In total, the company has over $56 million worth in financial ties to universities in Canada according to the CBC.
In 2018, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) warned university leaders that there were national security concerns regarding the relationship and that institutions should use caution when working with the company or employing its technology.
After the ties were initially revealed, the former assistant director of operations of CSIS, Andy Ellis, urged on Trudeau to probe the company’s involvement immediately.
“If I was Mr. Trudeau, I would say I want all of you in the intelligence community to tell me the length and breadth of what is going on here and to recommend to me some actions that mitigate it,” said Ellis.
Over a dozen Canadian universities currently have ties with the company, including the University of Waterloo, the University of British Columbia and the University of Toronto, among many others.
Last month, U.S. lawmakers warned Canada that if they were to allow the company to operate on its 5G network, it could jeopardize the two neighbouring nations’ intelligence-sharing relationship.
“It would make it very difficult to have a full intelligence-sharing [relationship] with a partner who has installed a direct line to Beijing,” said Senator Angus King at last month’s Halifax International Security Forum.
A majority of other countries in the “Five Eyes” intelligence community have banned the technology including the U.S., New Zealand and Australia.