Trade War Move? Authorities Detain Chinese Huawei Tech Officer in Canada

In a move reportedly initiated by the United States, Canadian authorities detained Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer for Huawei Technologies of China, Dec. 1 in Vancouver, British Columbia. She faces extradition to the U.S. 

According to CBS News, the U.S. Justice Department declined to comment. China’s Foreign Ministry demanded Meng’s release on Thursday and said neither Canadian nor U.S. officials have offered a reason for her detention.

"The company has been provided very little information regarding the charges and is not aware of any wrongdoing by Ms. Meng," read a Huawei statement.

However, Meng was detained at the same time President Donald Trump met with Chinese President Xi Jinping during the G-20 summit in Argentina on Saturday. They agreed to a temporary truce in the trade war between the U.S. and China, as Trump agreed not to impose any new tariffs on Chinese goods for 90 days to avoid stalling negotiations on other trade deals, according to CBS News.

While tech giant Huawei Technologies said it complies with laws in the U.S. and the European Union, the Canadian Media reported that Meng’s detention is likely linked to “suspected U.S. sanctions violations.”

Earlier this year, The Wall Street Journal reported that U.S. authorities investigated Huawei about possible sanction violations on Iran.

Reportedly, Meng is deputy chairman of the Huawei corporate board. Her father is Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei, BBC News reported.

According to a Huawei statement, Meng was in the middle of changing flights in Canada when she was detained to face “unspecified charges” in New York.

The Chinese Embassy in Ottawa demanded Meng’s release, saying her human rights were violated.

"At the request of the U.S. side, the Canadian side arrested a Chinese citizen not violating any American or Canadian law,” said the embassy statement. “The Chinese side firmly opposes and strongly protests over such kind of actions which seriously harmed the human rights of the victim.”

Arguing earlier this year that China improperly benefits from “improper subsidies and market barriers,” President Donald Trump has threatened to raise tariffs on Chinese goods after Beijing has allegedly pressured foreign companies to hand over technology.

Last April, Washington barred ZTE Corp., a rival to Huawei rival, from exporting U.S. technology in exports to Iran and North Korea. But that was a separate case.

Also in April, in the wake of The Wall Street Journal report, China asked the U.S. not to take action.

"We hope the U.S. will refrain from taking actions that could further undermine investor confidence in the U.S. business environment and harm its domestic economy and normal, open, transparent and win-win international trade,” said Hua Chunying, foreign ministry spokeswoman, said last April. China, she said, opposes any country imposing unilateral sanctions based on its own law, CBS News reported.

In the wake of Meng’s detention, it’s unclear how events will unfold in the tense trade war Trump is waging with China.

Concerning Meng’s vague detention, Huawei said, “The company believes the Canadian and U.S. legal systems will ultimately reach a just conclusion."

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