A top academic on Thursday blasted U.S. President Donald Trump’s suggestion that Huawei’s arrested Chief Financial Officer might be used as political leverage if the need arises. According to Scholl Chair for international business at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Mr. William Reinsch, the history of the U.S. and Canada has a straightforward approach to contemporary criminal justice systems and requires justice to be blind, i.e. be applied equally to all perpetrators and victims based on the circumstances of every particular case and not the involved parties’ identities. “Trump is basically saying he might interfere with this process, which is a terrible precedent,” the academic remarked.
Pushing for a new trade deal by any means necessary
Renegotiating major trade agreements with China has been one of President Trump’s primary promises on the campaign trail and in his attempt to come good on that vow, the head of the U.S. started a full-blown trade war with the Far Eastern country that already resulted in massive tariffs imposed on tens and hundreds of billions of goods and technologies being exchanged between the world’s two largest economies. While Washington and Beijing agreed to a 90-day truce two weeks ago during the latest G20 summit in Argentina, Canadian authorities have been on the verge of arresting Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou, having pulled the plug on that plan on December 1. Neither President Trump nor Prime Minister Trudeau was aware of the effort conducted on the behest of the stateside Department of Justice, with both parties claiming the arrest wasn’t politically motivated, i.e. in any way related to the ongoing trade war.
Beijing disagrees and has already said as much, having publicly criticized the development on numerous occasions. State-backed media in China is currently going as far as to call Canada a U.S. puppet, asserting Ms. Meng’s arrest was baseless and made in bad faith with an obvious political agenda. The Department of Justice is alleging the long-time executive and daughter of Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei organized a banking scheme and established hidden ties to a Hong Kong company operating in Iran, all with the goal of breaking U.S. trade sanctions imposed against Iran. Violated trade sanctions imposed on Iran were the reason why another giant Chinese company — the state-owned ZTE — was nearly put out of business earlier this year, with that episode signaling Huawei’s CFO likely won’t be getting off the hook easily if even a fraction of the accusations against her are true.
Ms. Meng was released on bail equivalent to approximately $6.5 million earlier this week and is currently under limited house arrest in Canada as she’s perceived to be a flight risk. The DOJ has until early February to formally request her extradition but is already expected to do so this month. If the full extent of the current allegations against Huawei’s CFO is proven true, she is facing up to 30 years in federal prison, according to existing fraud legislation, though any such a scenario isn’t likely to happen before a lengthy legal battle takes place.