What does the fate of Alstom tell us about the Huawei case?
Updated 16:38, 26-May-2019 CGTN
The case of Huawei Now turn back to Huawei CFO’s Meng Wanzhou’s case. She was whisked away as soon as she landed in Vancouver to change planes. Her arrest was widely viewed as an overreach of U.S. law enforcement. Similar to Alstom, Huawei has become a symbol of the economic struggle between the U.S. and foreign countries. In his most recent statement, U.S. President Donald Trump admittedly acknowledged that Huawei could be part of the U.S.-China trade deal. In late 2018, the then attorney general Jeff Sessions announced the initiative to combat so-called “Chinese economic espionage,” claiming that “hacking” and “unfair practices” from China “posed a real and illegal threat” to the U.S.’ economic prosperity and competitiveness. Likewise, the U.S. is using its judicial system to gain economic leverage in the case of Huawei. U.S. authorities are alleging that Huawei violated the country’s sanctions by selling American equipment to Iran, via shell companies set up by Meng. Although there is no multinational acquisition in play this time, the indictment of Huawei’s “fraudulent” practices are a convenient coincidence as the two economic giants vie for 5G dominance, a technology in which Huawei is now a global leader.
The long arm of U.S. sheriffs dates backs to over a decade ago, when the world’s biggest power was pressured by the rapid ascent of other economies. Now it’s the thought of possibly losing its technological advantage that has gripped the United States. Therefore, it has resorted to legal machinations in order to gain a competitive economic edge. Bribery, fraud, and breaking sanctions are the commonly used pretexts. Invoking rule of law and enforcing legal norm don’t seem convincing when the U.S. has much to gain in handicapping Huawei by possibly imprisoning its CFO and imposing sanctions on the telecom company. It seems history – whether corporate or geopolitical – is destined to repeat itself.