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Canada Bans Huawei, ZTE 5G Gear on ‘National Security’ Fears

Authorities said companies would be required to remove their 5G equipment by June 2024 and would not be reimbursed for their expenses

Canada's industry minister François-Philippe Champagne
Canada's Industry minister, François-Philippe Champagne, said Ottawa would "safeguard our critical telecommunications infrastructure". File photo: AFP.


Canada has announced it will ban the use of 5G telecom gear supplied by China’s Huawei Technologies and ZTE.

Authorities said companies would be required to remove their 5G telecom gear by June 2024 and would not be reimbursed for their expenses. Companies using their 4G telecom gear must be removed by the end of 2027.

“The government intends to prohibit the inclusion of Huawei and ZTE products and services in Canada’s telecommunications systems,” Industry Minister François-Philippe Champagne said in a statement.

“This follows a thorough review by our independent security agencies and in consultation with our closest allies.”

The decision means all members of the ‘Five Eyes’ surveillance network – Canada, the UK, US, Australia and New Zealand – have banned the two companies’ equipment.

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‘Safety and Security’

“Our government will always protect the safety and security of Canadians and will take any actions necessary to safeguard our critical telecommunications infrastructure,” Champagne added.

“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.”

Chinese officials criticised the decision. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Beijing said it would safeguard the legitimate rights of Chinese companies in Canada.

China’s embassy in Ottawa said the move “violates the principles of market economy and free trade rules”.

In December, the Chinese ambassador to Canada, Cong Peiyu, warned the government against banning Huawei, saying it would drive away Chinese investors.

Huawei said the ban was no surprise. “We’ve been expecting this for three years,” Alykhan Velshi, vice-president of corporate affairs for the Americas, told Canadian public broadcaster CBC.


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George Russell

George Russell is a freelance writer and editor based in Hong Kong who has lived in Asia since 1996. His work has been published in the Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, New York Post, Variety, Forbes and the South China Morning Post.


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