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As trade tensions loom, US demands extradition of Chinese tech giant's CFO


Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou was arrested in Vancouver and will be extradited to the U.S.

WANG ZHAO/AFP/Getty Images

The Canadian government has arrested Meng Wanzhou, the CFO of Chinese tech giant, Huawei, and the United States government is demanding her extradition.

Who is Meng Wanzhou?

In addition to being the CFO of Huawei, Meng is the daughter of the company's founder, Ren Zhengfei, and is widely expected to take over for him as head of the company one day. The 74-year-old Ren is reportedly worth roughly $3.4 billion, according to the Washington Post, and his company is the largest maker of telecommunications network equipment in the world.

Meng has shown that she's capable of running the company after her father, starting as a telephone operator before studying accounting and taking control of Huawei's finances. She was responsible for a lucrative partnership between Huawei and IBM.

Meng was detained in Vancouver on Wednesday as she was transferring flights in Canada.

Why was she arrested?

Neither government has clarified why Meng was detained, but for the past two years, U.S. prosecutors have been looking into whether Meng's company shipped U.S. goods to Iran in violation of sanctions. Meng is scheduled to appear at a hearing in Vancouver on Friday.

What does this mean for U.S. trade negotiations with China?

It's not clear yet. The Chinese government has demanded that Meng be released, but has also expressed a desire to not have this overshadow any trade talks. However, the Global Times, a Chinese outlet loyal to the Communist Party, denounced the move as “despicable hooliganism" on the part of the United States.

On Wednesday, President Donald Trump said in a tweet that China was sending “very strong signals" that it was ready to make a deal with the United States.

"Not to sound naive or anything," he added, "but I believe President Xi [Jinping] meant every word of what he said at our long and hopefully historic meeting."

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