By David Ljunggren
OTTAWA (Reuters) – Canada is poised to announce a ban on the use of China‘s Huawei Technologies Co Ltd and ZTE Corp 5G gear, joining the rest of the so-called Five Eyes intelligence-sharing network, a source familiar with the matter said on Thursday.
The decision – widely expected – had been delayed amid diplomatic tensions with China. The rest of the Five Eyes network – which consists of Canada, the United States, Britain, Australia and New Zealand – has already banned the gear.
In September 2018, Canada said it would review the possible threats to national security in adopting Huawei equipment.
Then in December of the same year, Huawei Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou was arrested in Canada on a U.S. warrant, creating a long-running dispute that finally ended last September with Meng’s release.
After Meng’s arrest in 2018, two Canadians were arrested by Beijing and accused of espionage. The two men were released the same day as Meng.
Now diplomatic tensions between China and Canada have eased, but telecom companies in Canada opted for other 5G hardware in the meantime. Neither Huawei nor ZTE immediately responded to requests for comment.
In 2020, Bell Canada and rival Telus Corp – two of the biggest wireless providers – teamed up with Sweden’s Ericsson and Finland’s Nokia Oyj to build fifth-generation (5G) telecoms networks, ditching Huawei for the project despite using Huawei 4G gear.
China removed a three-year restriction on imports of Canadian canola seed, Canadian officials said on Wednesday, reversing what was considered a retaliatory move for Meng’s arrest.
(Reporting by David Ljunggren, additional reporting by Ismail Shakil; writing by Steve Scherer; Editing by Leslie Adler and Jonathan Oatis)