The feud between China and the United States triggered by the arrest of a senior Huawei telecommunications company in Vancouver seems poised to inflict collateral damage on Canada, which has closer ties with Beijing in an increasingly unpredictable trade relationship with its South Neighbor wanted to build.
Meng Wanzhou, Huawei's Global Chief Financial Officer, will appear at a cash hearing on Friday morning after she was arrested last Saturday. She is being extradited to the United States for alleged violations of US sanctions against Iran.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Thursday that he had been alerted to the imminent arrest, but said he had not interfered in the process of speaking with his Chinese counterpart.
"The competent authorities have taken the decisions in this case," he told reporters. "We were advised by them with a notice of a few days that this was in the works, and of course there was no commitment or commitment in the policy at this decision because we respect the independence of our lawsuits."
But early signs of political damage were evident: Chinese Ambassador Lu Shaye quickly withdrew from a scheduled appearance to the Canadian Foreign Affairs Committee in Ottawa.
The Chinese Embassy strongly condemned Meng's arrest and stated that they would take all measures to make the police determined to protect legitimate rights and interests of Chinese citizens. "
The high-profile arrest has feared that Canada could suffer costly economic and political retaliation from China.
"President Xi calls these companies National Champions. These are flag carrier companies that are absolutely the face of China wanting to show Xi, "said Stephanie Carvin, professor of international relations at Carlton University." And if China is crazy about Canada – and it looks like It would be – there is a danger of retaliation. "
In recent years, China has quickly become one of Canada's largest trading partners, a relationship that is becoming increasingly important as Canada has a trading relationship with the US. The recent spitting is likely to curb a free trade agreement between the two countries.
"When it comes to a crisis – and that is the case now – China is silent in silence, high-level visits are postponed, there is no exchange," said former Canadian ambassador to China, David Mulroney. "I think we will sink into the frozen state until it dissolves itself."
Last year, total exports to China – minerals, wood products and oilseed rape – were estimated at over $ 18 billion. Beijing was previously prepared to use its economic power against Canada.
In a recent case, he cited the black-legged fungus that infested rapeseed cultivation as a justification for billions of dollars in rape exports. "I would not be surprised if we suddenly saw another Canadian canola blackleg or a Nova Scotia lobster ban," said Carvin, adding that Canadian companies have a large presence in China – like train manufacturer Bombardier – are also a danger for punitive measures.
Other analysts were less concerned: "The Chinese are not astute," said Gordon Houlden, director of the China Institute at the University of Alberta. "The government tends to be cautious. I think we will enter a wait-and-see phase.
Meng's arrest is taking place against a background of mounting concerns over Huawei's increasingly oversized influence and presence in the country.
In a rare public speech earlier this week, Canada's top intelligence official said that state-sponsored espionage Huawei has positioned itself as the world leader of 5G, but governments in the US, New Zealand and Australia have already decided to use the company's equipment, including 5G cellular technology – a critical threat to Canada's national security.
The US legislator has recently warned its Canadian counterparts that using the infrastructure developed by Huawei greatly increases the risk of surveillance and hacking.
Nonetheless, the Chinese telecommunications giant has consistently put millions of dollars into cutting-edge research at Canadian universities – and has become the target of critics who claim it holds much of this new technology for itself, at the expense of Canadian workers and expertise.
For the past decade, Huawei has committed nearly $ 30 million to 13 universities across the country, with further investment pledged in the coming years.
Canadian professors have done this The full rights to their inventions have been transferred to Huawei at least 40 times, with the relationship between the universities and the telecom company spawning hundreds of patents, many of which relate to next-generation 5G technology, such a study by Globe and Mail.
"We have a really very important relationship with a country that is completely different from us. This offers us opportunities – but in many ways they also threaten the interests of Canada and the Canadian goals, "said Mulroney. "So we have to think very carefully about how to move forward."