Island tourism and tech may suffer in fallout from Huawei arrests


WATCH: Tonight, Huawei’s CFO remains behind bars leaving Canada stuck in between the U.S. and China. As Kori Sidaway tells us, Vancouver Island could also be affected.

It’s an arrest that China didn’t see coming.

The Chinese tech giant, Huawei’s, saw their CFO Meng Wanzhou arrested at a Vancouver airport last week, in compliance with an American request for her extradition for alleged fraud and violating sanctions against Iran.

China responded by warning Canada of “severe consequences” if she’s not isn’t released.

“We are a country of an independent judiciary, and the appropriate authorities took the decisions in this case without any political involvement or interference, as must be the case,” said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

And as Canada remains caught in the middle, the fallout has already been felt. Because of the arrest, a visit to China by B.C.’s Minister of Trade Bruce Ralston was suspended.

“I think this is probably a temporary tactical response to a situation which is urgently and immediately painful,” said political communications expert David Black.

And experts say it may not be long until ramifications may be felt here on the Island.

“I think we might look to new sources of difficulty is in tourism and likewise in tech,” said Black.

“The Island is seeing, and happily so, a lot of Chinese tourism. And with respect to technology, all kinds of Chinese investment in tech that would be in peril if there was a permanent chill placed on relations between China and Canada.”

Greater Victoria attracts almost 4 million people per year. From 2011 to 2016 tourism increased 20 per cent, generating $2.3 billion for the region in 2016.

And although a hit to tourism may be a risk, experts believe the trade truces between China, the U.S. and Canada will hold.

“There’s too much at stake, there’s too much to lose, by allowing the arrest of one, albeit important CFO to upset all the benefits from the flow the normalization of economic relations,” said Black.

Meng’s bail hearing will continue on Monday.

Kori SidawayKori Sidaway

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