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Alibaba Executive Slams U.S. Treatment of Huawei

GANGNEUNG, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 10: Alibaba Group Executive Vice Chairman Joe Tsai and Olympic figure skater Michelle Kwan at the opening of the Alibaba Showcase at the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games on February 10, 2018 in Gangneung, South Korea. (Photo by Marianna Massey/Getty Images)
Marianna Massey/Getty Images
JOHN CARNEY

A senior Alibaba executive attacked the treatment of Huawei Technologies as “extremely unfair” at a Reuters conference in Shanghai Friday,

Joe Tsai, the executive vice-chairman of Alibaba, said the actions by the U.S. and allies to curb Huawei’s access to domestic markets is “very political motivated,” Reuters reported.

“I think what the American government and together with the Five Eyes Alliance – what they’re trying to do with Huawei – is a bit unfair, there’s definitely a political agenda behind it,” Tsai said, according to Reuters.

The U.S. government has severely restricted Huawei, the world’s biggest teleccom network equipment maker, from selling its products in the U.S., alleging that the equipment could be used as spyware by the Chinese government. Australia and New Zealand have also placed similar restrictions. Canada and the United Kingdom are considering restrictions as well.

Federal prosecutors in the U.S. have reportedly launched an investigation into allegations that Huawei has stolen trade secrets from rival tech companies. The company’s chief financial officer, Meng Wanzhou, was arrested last month in Canada at the request of U.S. authorities. The U.S. is expected to seek her extradition later this month. She has been accused of violating sanctions against Iran.

Tsai, who holds a Canadian passport, backed off of attacking Canada directly, laughing off a question about Meng’s arrest.

“I love Canadians, they’re great,” Tsai joked, according to Reuters.

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