Huawei committed to Canadian investments in spite of CFO arrest: president

TORONTO (Reuters) – Huawei Chairman Liang Hua said on Thursday the company is committed to increasing the level of investment in Canada, despite the arrest of the chief financial officer of the Canadian police at the request of the United States, last December.

A woman walks past a Huawei store in Beijing, China, January 29, 2019. REUTERS/Thomas Peter/Photo File

Liang spoke with reporters after the Chinese telecommunications company said it would increase Canadian research and development investment by 15 percent this year and add 200 R&D jobs, expanding its workforce by 20 percent.

“We are not changing our approach on the investments in R&D and we are going to step up our investment in R&D in Canada,” Liang said. “We would like to continue to work with the telecom operators.”

Meng Wanzhou, CFO and also the daughter of the founder Ren Zhengfei, is charged with bank and wire fraud in violation of U.s. sanctions against Iran.

Liang said that he believed that the arrest of a senior executive, a fact that was “not common, and rare,” adding that he could not say that the charges were not politically driven. Mix is fighting a U.S. extradition request.

“I hope that they can be set free and that she could reunite with her family, but I am not a lawyer, so I can’t comment on the substance of the case,” he said.

After the Mix was locked, China arrested two Canadians on national security grounds, and a Chinese court later sentenced to the death of a Canadian man who was previously convicted for drug trafficking.

Liang said that the current relationship between China and Canada is “not ideal.”

“We are aware that there are a number of issues that need to be resolved between the two countries,” he said.

Canada is considering whether to allow Huawei to supply equipment to 5G networks, the latest generation of cellular mobile communications. Some Canadian allies have imposed restrictions, with reference to the risk of espionage.

Liang said that he hoped a decision would be based on the value of the company’s technology instead of other factors.

Reporting by Matt Scuffham; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Steve Orlofsky

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