World markets down after arrest of Huawei executive

06 Décembre, 2018, 21:11 | Auteur: Auguste Feret
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The Pentagon has alleged the Chinese government could use the phones to spy.

While the suspected reason for Wanzhou's arrest relate to accusations of breaking American sanctions against Iran, one expert says the US has long expressed concerns about the Chinese government using the telecom giant's cell networks to spy on foreign countries like the USA and Canada.

Chinese officials on Thursday blasted Meng's arrest - but experts warn more forceful actions, including the possibility of tit-for-tat detentions of high-profile citizens, could be coming. David Mulroney, a former Canadian ambassador to China, said U.S. and Canadian business executives could face reprisals in China.

European shares fell on Thursday after the arrest of a top executive at Huawei fed new worries over the Sino-U.S. trade war, hitting export-oriented tech and auto stocks.

"We have made solemn representations to Canada and the United States, demanding that both parties immediately clarify the reasons for the detention, and immediately release the detainee to protect the person's legal rights", foreign ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang told reporters. China, which has spent the week thus far making conciliatory gestures to the U.S.in an attempt to bring the trade war to an end, is furious and is demanding Meng's release.

The Wall Street Journal reported in April that American authorities are investigating whether the Chinese tech company violated sanctions on Iran.

Following Wanzhou's arrest, several Chinese companies' stocks plummeted - including Huawei's supplier firms and its main rival, ZTE. Her stature in Chinese culture has been compared to American tech giants such as Steve Jobs or Mark Zuckerberg.

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"This comes at a truly delicate time", Win Thin, global head of currency strategy at Brown Brothers Harriman, wrote to clients on Thursday.

"Washington is attempting to damage Huawei's worldwide reputation and taking aim at the tech giant's global market in the name of law", the editorial stated.

The Chinese government has demanded that Meng be released. It should increase interaction with the US and exert pressure when necessary.

The arrest by Canadian authorities of Meng stems from an allegation that another company which she managed violated a USA ban against selling technology to Iran. Over the weekend, President Trump had tweeted that he was suspending an increase in tariffs after reaching a deal with China. Trump and Xi have dug in on their respective positions and have mostly been waiting for the other party to blink.

Washington had previously moved to constrain Huawei's business dealings in the U.S. The government cited concerns over Huawei's close ties to the Chinese government, arguing this made it a security risk.

United States national security officials have said Huawei poses a security risk due to its alleged close links to the Chinese government.

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