Canada announced on Thursday that it would ban the installation of 5G equipment from Chinese companies Huawei and ZTE in its telecommunications networks, saying the measure would protect the country’s infrastructure.
The decision means that phone companies that have already installed 5G equipment from Huawei and ZTE in Canada will have to remove it. Additionally, the Canadian government has said it will not compensate affected companies.
The announcement of the ban on Huawei and ZTE equipment was made by the Ministers of Public Security, Marco Mendocino, and Innovation, François-Philippe Champagne.
Champagne, who previously served as foreign minister, said the decision was made after listening to the country’s intelligence services and Canada’s closest allies.
For years, Canada has considered banning the installation of 5G equipment from Huawei and other Chinese companies in the country.
Canada’s four partners in the Five Eyes intelligence alliance – the US, UK, Australia and New Zealand – had previously banned or limited Huawei’s participation in the 5G network in those countries. .
The United States and its allies have pointed out that the inclusion of equipment from Chinese manufacturers in 5G networks poses a serious security problem since companies like Huawei can be coerced by Beijing into spying on other countries.
Huawei has repeatedly denied that it poses a security risk to the countries where its equipment is installed and has distanced itself from the Chinese regime.
The announcement of the Huawei and ZTE equipment ban comes eight months after Chinese authorities released Canadian citizens Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor after nearly 1,000 days in jail in China.
Kovrig and Spavor were arrested and convicted of espionage after Canada arrested Meng Wanzhou, Huawei’s chief financial officer and daughter of the company’s founder, in December 2018.
Wanzhou was detained by Canada at the request of the United States, which sought her extradition for alleged financial fraud amid Chinese protests.
Wanzhou spent nearly three years on bail in Vancouver, Canada, while courts decided on his extradition, and returned to China in September 2021 after reaching an agreement with US authorities.
Wanzhou’s arrest has caused serious diplomatic tensions between Canada and China.
The announcement regarding 5G networks also comes 24 hours after the Canadian government announced that China had lifted a ban on the import of Canadian rapeseed.
Three years ago, Chinese authorities blocked purchases of Canadian rapeseed in retaliation for Wanzhou’s arrest.