Ex­perts: No fear of re­tal­i­a­tion – yet

Edmonton Sun - - NEWS - ALEK­SAN­DRA SA­GAN

Van­cou­ver — Fears of re­tal­i­a­tion against china-based staff of cana­dian com­pa­nies in the wake of a chi­nese tech exec’s ar­rest in canada are overblown at the mo­ment, but ex­perts say that could change if the sit­u­a­tion es­ca­lates.

meng Wanzhou, CFO of chi­nese tele­com gi­ant Huawei tech­nolo­gies, was ar­rested at Van­cou­ver’s air­port while in tran­sit on dec. 1. and faces ex­tra­di­tion to the united States on un­spec­i­fied charges.

chi­nese of­fi­cials have de­manded her re­lease, and the in­ci­dent has sparked spec­u­la­tion that china could re­tal­i­ate by ar­rest­ing cana­di­ans work­ing abroad in the coun­try, as many large cana­dian cor­po­ra­tions have of­fices or re­tail out­lets there.

How­ever, it’s too soon to think about pos­si­ble re­tal­ia­tory mea­sures, ex­perts say.

“I think at this stage, there is no im­pli­ca­tion yet,” said Lynette Ong, an as­so­ciate pro­fes­sor with the munk School.

“but I think if this event were to es­ca­late, it might have im­pli­ca­tions for se­cu­rity of cana­dian busi­nesses and cana­dian busi­ness peo­ple op­er­at­ing in china.”

as of 2015, cana­dian busi­nesses had 531 lo­ca­tions across china span­ning sev­eral sec­tors, in­clud­ing en­ergy, ed­u­ca­tion and agri­cul­ture, ac­cord­ing to data com­piled by re­searchers at the univer­sity of toronto’s munk School of Global af­fairs and Pub­lic Pol­icy.

com­pa­nies with siz­able foot­prints in china in­clude man­ulife Fi­nan­cial corp., thomson reuters and restau­rant brands In­ter­na­tional, which has sev­eral burger King lo­ca­tions in china and plans to bring more than 1,500 tim Hor­tons cof­fee shops to the coun­try over the next decade. all de­clined to com­ment. Other cana­dian com­pa­nies with chi­nese in­ter­ests in­clude bom­bardier Inc., magna In­ter­na­tional Inc. and canada Goose Hold­ings.

None re­sponded by time of pub­li­ca­tion.

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