What happened: The US on Monday announced criminal charges against Huawei Technologies and CFO Meng Wanzhou for allegedly violating US sanctions against Iran violations and, in a separate case, conspiring to steal trade secrets from network operator T-Mobile. The US claims the charges against Huawei are “wholly separate” from US-China trade negotiations scheduled to take place this week. Canadian officials arrested Meng on a US warrant on Dec. 1. She has since been on monitored bail.
Why it’s important: The charges against Huawei, the world’s largest communications equipment manufacturer, will very likely escalate the prolonged trade tension between the US and China. The US has been trying to ban American companies from purchasing Huawei equipment and urging its allies in the West to do the same. Countries have become increasingly wary of using Huawei’s products over the fear that the company’s close ties to the Chinese government could make its network equipment vulnerable to surveillance and interference.