President Joe Biden, left, walks with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at The White House in November. Trudeau's government on Thursday said it was prohibiting products and services produced by Huwaei and ZTE from its 5G networks, a move expected to be welcomed by its American ally. File Photo by Chris Kleponis/UPI | License Photo
May 20 (UPI) -- Canada announced that it is prohibiting products and services made by China's Huawei Technologies Co. and ZTE from use on its 5G cellular networks.
"Our government will always ensure the long-term safety and security of Canadians by taking all actions necessary to safeguard our critical telecommunications infrastructure," Industry Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne said Thursday in a statement that was posted on Twitter.
He said that the decision "follows a thorough review by our independent security agencies and in consultations with our closest allies. As a result, telecommunications companies that operate in Canada would no longer be permitted to make use of designated equipment or services provided by Huawei and ZTE. "
The minister added that companies that already use such equipment in their networks "would be required to cease its use and remove it."
Firms that already have technology from Huawei or ZTE installed will have until the end of 2027 to remove it, according to a report from Bloomberg.
The action by Canada drew a response from Huawei.
"We're disappointed but not surprised. We're surprised it took the government so long to make a decision," Huawei spokesman Alykhan Velshi said, according to a report in The Guardian. "We see this as a political decision, one born of political pressure primarily from the United States."
Thursday's decision by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's government came eight months after a Canadian diplomat and entrepreneur accused of spying were set free to return home from China after nearly three years in prison.
Canadian diplomat Michael Kovrig and entrepreneur Michael Spavor were hit with espionage charges just two days after Canada said it was proceeding with a hearing to extradite Meng Wanzhou, Huawei's chief financial officer, to the United States. In that case, the U.S. accused the Huawei executive of selling technology equipment to Iran.
In August 2020, the Commerce Department under former President Donald Trump, expanded restrictions on Huawei after alleging the company was a surveillance arm of the Chinese Communist Party.
Huawei, founded in 1987, is a leading global provider of information and communications technology infrastructure and smart devices. according to its website. The company says it has approximately 195,000 employees and operates in over 170 countries and regions.
Its first contract with a Canadian company came in 2008.