Toronto (AP) –
On Thursday, the Canadian government announced that wireless carriers would not be allowed to use Huawei equipment in their high-speed 5G networks, joining allies in imposing sanctions on the giant Chinese technology company.
Canada was the sole member of the Five Eyes intelligence-sharing alliance that signed Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. equipment for use in its 5G network. Huawei was previously banned by the US and other members – the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand.
“We are announcing our intention to prohibit the inclusion of Huawei and ZTE products and services in Canadian telecommunications systems,” Industry Minister François-Philippe Champagne said.
One of China’s largest tech companies and state-owned enterprise ZTE Corp. has also been included in the Canadian embargo.
Champagne added that “providers who already have this equipment installed will be required to cease its use and remove it.” He said Canada’s wireless companies wouldn’t be offered compensation.
Canada’s major wireless companies already had started working with other providers.
“Many hostile actors are ready to exploit vulnerabilities in our defences,” Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino said.
Mendicino said the government did an extensive review and redoubled efforts to protect Canadians.
The US government has been lobbying allies like Canada for years to exclude Huawei from new ultra-fast 5G mobile networks over worries that China’s communist rulers could compel the company to help with cyberespionage.
The US has warned it would reconsider intelligence sharing with any countries that use Huawei gear. The company has repeatedly denied the allegations.
“We’re disappointed but not surprised. We’re surprised it took the government so long to decide,” Huawei spokesman Alykhan Velshi said. “We see this as a political decision, born of political pressure primarily from the United States.”
Velshi said there would be Huawei equipment in Canada for years to come. He said the company has over 1,500 employees in Canada, and two-thirds work in research and development.