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B.C. trade mission cancels China trip due to Huawei events

Last Updated Dec 9, 2018 at 1:07 pm PDT

A shopper walks past a Huawei store at a shopping mall in Beijing Wednesday, July 4, 2018. The Justice Department says the chief financial officer of China's Huawei Technologies, who is sought for extradition by the United States, has been arrested in Vancouver. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Mark Schiefelbein

VICTORIA (NEWS 1130) — British Columbia’s Asian forestry mission has cancelled its China trip due “to the international judicial process underway” after Huawei’s CFO Meng Wanzhou was arrested at Vancouver International Airport last week, ” a press release by the Ministry of Jobs, Trade and Technology says.

“The December 2018 Forestry Asia Trade Mission, led by Doug Donaldson, Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development, and supported by numerous B.C. forestry industry representatives, has successfully completed the South Korea portion of the mission and will complete the Japan portion of the mission on Tuesday, Dec. 11. The delegation was then scheduled to travel to China but will return to British Columbia at that time,” the release goes on.

There are plans to reschedule the trip, but no details are given.

Major economic retaliation by China is ‘very unlikely,’ says UBC professor

James Brander, professor at UBC’s Sauder School of Business, says at first he was surprised at the cancellation of the China leg of the trip, but says the provincial government may be just trying to stay out of the way of the tensions between the United States and China.

“Who know what the Chinese authorities will do. Obviously they planned some kind of retaliation against Canada,” he tells NEWS 1130. “On reflection, it kind of makes sense for the B.C. delegation to stay out of trouble, if they can.”

Though he does not see any of Chinese retaliatory actions affecting the average person, he could see the Chinese government target Canadian companies or individuals in some way, along with a slowdown in economic talks between North America and China.

“I don’t think it’ll be anything big that would affect the overall economy, but China obviously feels the need to take a stand on this, so I do expect them to do something visible,” he adds. ” I certainly would not expect China to do anything like cancel a contract with B.C. forest companies, which would be a pay-cut to B.C., but I think that’s very unlikely because it hurts China as much as it hurts B.C.”

China summons U.S. and Canada ambassadors

Meanwhile, China has summoned the U.S. ambassador to protest the detention of an executive of electronics giant Huawei in Canada at Washington’s behest.

The official Xinhua News Agency says Vice Foreign Minister Le Yucheng “lodged solemn representations and strong protests” with Ambassador Terry Branstad on Sunday against the detention of Huawei’s chief financial officer, Meng Wanzhou, while she was changing planes in Vancouver, Canada, last week.

Meng is reportedly suspected of trying to evade U.S. trade curbs on Iran.

Xinhua quoted Le as calling Meng’s detention “extremely egregious” and demanded the U.S. vacate an order for her arrest. It quoted Le as calling for the U.S. to “immediately correct its wrong actions” and said it would take further steps based on Washington’s response.

The move follows the summoning of Canadian Ambassador John McCallum on Saturday over Meng’s detention and a similar protest, calling the arrest “unreasonable, unconscionable, and vile in nature” and warning of “grave consequences” if she is not released.

A former foreign policy adviser to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says Chinese pressure on the Canadian government to release a top executive of Huawei won’t work.

In a tweet, Roland Paris says, “Perhaps because the Chinese state controls its judicial system, Beijing sometimes has difficulty understanding or believing that courts can be independent in a rule-of-law country. There’s no point in pressuring the Canadian government. Judges will decide.”

Huawei is the biggest global supplier of network gear for phone and internet companies and has been the target of deepening U.S. security concerns. The U.S. has pressured European countries and other allies to limit use of its technology.

— with files from Taran Parmar and The Canadian Press