OTTAWA – Canada is preparing to announce a ban on the use of Chinese 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 government will issue an announcement on telecommunications security at 4:15 pm ET (2015 GMT), the government said. The news was first published by Bloomberg.
The decision – widely anticipated – was delayed amid diplomatic tensions with China. The rest of the Five Ice Network – which includes Canada, the United States, Britain, Australia and New Zealand – has already banned gear.
In September 2018, Canada said it would review potential security threats to the acquisition of Huawei equipment.
Then in December of that year, Meng Wanzhou, Huawei’s chief financial officer, was arrested in Canada on a U.S. warrant, creating a long-running dispute that ended with Meng’s release last September.
Following Meng’s arrest in 2018, two Canadians were arrested by Beijing and charged with espionage. The two men were released on the same day as Meng.
Now diplomatic tensions between China and Canada have eased, but Canadian telecom companies have already opted for other 5G hardware. Neither Huawei nor ZTE responded immediately to the request for comment.
In 2020, Bell Canada and rival Telus Corp – two of the largest wireless providers – to build a fifth-generation (5G) telecom network with Sweden’s Ericsson and Finland’s Nokia Oyj, excluding Huawei for the project despite using Huawei 4G gear.
China has lifted a three-year ban on Canadian canola seed imports, Canadian officials said Wednesday, in what is being considered a retaliatory measure for Meng’s arrest. (Reporting by David Lajungren, Additional Report by Ismail Shakil; Writing by Steve Shearer; Editing by Leslie Adler and Jonathan Otis)