POLITICAL ECONOMY

Canada To Ban Huawei And ZTE From 5G Networks

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By Juan Pedro Tomás

Canada has decided to ban the use of equipment by Chinese vendors Huawei and ZTE due to security concerns.

 “The Government of Canada is ensuring the long term safety of our telecommunications infrastructure. As part of that, the government intends to prohibit the inclusion of Huawei and ZTE products and services in Canada’s telecommunications systems,” minister of innovation, science and industry, François-Philippe Champagne said in a statement.

The minister noted that this decision follows a thorough review by the country’s independent security agencies and in consultation with allies.

“As a result, telecommunications companies that operate in Canada would no longer be permitted to make use of designated equipment or services provided by Huawei and ZTE. As well, companies that already use this equipment installed in their networks would be required to cease its use and remove it. The government intends to implement these measures as part of a broader agenda to promote the security of Canada’s telecommunications networks and in consultation with industry.

Champagne added that Canadian operators will be required to remove their 5G gear by June, 2024, while companies using 4G equipment provided by these two Chinese vendors must remove it by the end of 2027.

The rest of the Five Eyes intelligence-sharing network—which consists of Canada, the United States, the UK, Australia and New Zealand—has already banned telecom gear from Chinese vendors due to security allegations.

“We will take all necessary measures to safeguard the legitimate interests of Chinese firms,” Reuters reported China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin as saying.

A spokesperson for China’s embassy in Canada said the alleged security concerns were a “pretext for political manipulation” and accused Canada of working with the United States to suppress Chinese companies, according to Reuters.

Both Huawei and ZTE said that the decision was had been adopted chiefly due to political reasons and denied claims that their equipment could pose any risk to security.

Huawei Canada said its equipment had been “closely scrutinized” by the government and security agencies. “Banning Huawei’s equipment and services will lead to significant economic loss in Canada and drive up the cost of communications for Canadian consumers,” Huawei’s statement said.

Meanwhile, ZTE said it rejected the decision saying it was “highly speculative”.

The government of Canada had initially announced a review of Huawei equipment in September 2018.

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