NW Week

Thursday, February 22, 2024

What is happening with Canada’s Huawei decision two years ago?

What is happening with Canada's Huawei decision

Key Takeaways:

  • Canadian diplomats were surprised by the Trump administration’s “muted” public response to the United Kingdom’s decision to partially allow Huawei into that country’s 5G networks in January 2020.
  • However, Canadians are still waiting for a decision nearly two years later.

According to records obtained over the freedom of information act, Canadian officials questioned whether the U.S. response represented a “quiet resignation” that increasingly intense efforts to persuade American allies to ban the Chinese firm appeared to have failed. At the same time, officials in Canada noted that the decision-making process was “picking up momentum.”

“From the U.S. Administration, public reactions were surprisingly limited given their significant advocacy efforts and the concerns raised,” one diplomat at the Canadian embassy in Washington, D.C., wrote in a memo to government officials on Jan. 29, 2020.

The memo speculated on several possible explanations for the “muted response,” including a planned afternoon meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Another possible response linked it to a trip to the United Kingdom by Mike Pompeo, the U.S. secretary of state at the moment.

“However, it could also have been a quiet acceptance that [their] advocacy efforts had failed.” The decision by the United Kingdom to allow Huawei partial access to the country’s 5G network came despite intense global pressure from American officials to ban Huawei. They frequently expressed concern that if Beijing ordered it, the company would use technological backdoors to spy.

Additional political pressure from American leaders was reported in British media, culminating in stricter restrictions against Huawei in July 2020. However, British officials cited new security concerns from the country’s signals intelligence agency, GCHQ, as the reason for the policy shift.

The United Kingdom reversed the partial approval the same month, vowing to remove Huawei from British 5G networks by the end of 2027 or prohibiting U.K. telecom providers from purchasing Huawei equipment after 2020.

Source: Global News

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