23:16 GMT31 March 2020
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    The Trump administration has warned its allies that allowing the Chinese tech giant to participate in the development of a national 5G network will place information-sharing agreements among the Five Eyes intelligence alliance in jeopardy.

    Robert Blair, US President Donald Trump's special representative for international telecoms policy, has discussed the "importance of a secure and reliable next-generation telecommunications infrastructure" and the defence partnership between the United States and Canada, the US embassy said in a statement on Monday, cited by Reuters.

    According to sources cited by Reuters, Blair planned ahead of the meeting to press Ottawa that a decision to include Huawei could jeopardize Canada's access to US intelligence.

    A spokesman for Canadian Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland said that the meeting was "a part of regular and ongoing conversations with the United States regarding national security and continental telecommunications", according to Reuters.

    The Trump administration has directly warned Ottawa that it could lose access to top-secret intelligence unless it bans the use of Huawei products in its national roll out of 5G technology.

    Despite repeated warnings from the Trump administration, Canadian Minister of Innovation Navdeep Bains, who has a say in Ottawa's final decision, noted last week that Ottawa "won't get bullied by any other jurisdiction".

    "We are going to make sure that we make a decision that protects Canadians going forward […] We will make our own independent decision based on our own analysis", Bains said, cited by CBC News.

    Huawei technology, products and services were banned by the Trump administration in May 2019, following accusations that the tech giant provides back-door access to Beijing intelligence through the use of their products worldwide. Washington has systematically encouraged other countries to give up Huawei equipment and infrastructure in building out national 5G networks. Huawei and Beijing have consistently rejected the accusations and have protested US efforts to restrict the company's global business strategy.

    US Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said earlier that Washington and Beijing are engaged in dialogues on the economy, national security, and humanitarian issues, and that the issue of multinational tech giant Huawei is not part of the ongoing trade talks between the nations.

    The US and China in mid-January signed a first package of documents under a so-called Phase One trade agreement. Beijing agreed to increase purchases of certain US goods and services by $200 billion over the next two years. Additionally, China promised to increase copyright protection for western rights holders and expand access to its market.

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    Tags:
    Robert Blair, pressure, 5G, Huawei, United States, Canada
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