Huawei executive: Tech is the biggest loser in the trade war

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Huawei Deputy Chairman Ken Hu | Markus Schreiber/AP

(CNN) — One of the companies at the center of the trade war between the United States and China is warning of consequences across the tech industry.

"We've seen the damaging effect on many of the companies, including Huawei, from the trade war," Ken Hu, the company's deputy chairman, said Tuesday at the World Economic Forum.

"As the technology industry, we heavily rely on the global supply chain and the global innovation ecosystem, so we are probably suffering the most right now," he said during a panel discussion in Davos, Switzerland.

The Chinese telecommunications company has come under intense scrutiny in recent months over security concerns. US officials have warned that Huawei products can be used to snoop on Americans, and New Zealand and Australia have banned its equipment from their 5G networks.

Huawei has denied accusations that it spies for China.

Tensions escalated further when Meng Wanzhou, the chief financial officer at Huawei and the daughter of its founder, was arrested last month in Canada and accused by the United States of busting sanctions on Iran. The United States will soon make a formal request for her extradition, according to the Canadian government. Meng and Huawei have denied any wrongdoing.

The actions against Huawei have become a key issue in the larger trade confrontation between the United States and China. President Donald Trump last month suggested he may intervene in the legal saga if it would help his pursuit of a trade deal with China.

Among other things, the United States has accused China of not doing enough to prevent its companies from stealing intellectual property and forcing Western partners to transfer technology.

China's domestic economy, meanwhile, is weakening. Growth last year was the slowest it has been in almost three decades.

Other executives representing Chinese companies in Davos are also worried about the impact of the trade conflict. Ning Gaoning, chairman of Chinese state-owned oil and gas company Sinopec, said that Chinese companies are likely to reduce foreign investment.

"The Chinese are getting quite confused," he said. "They thought they are welcome to invest in another country, and now they realize they are not ... welcome all the time."

Other recent data points back up that assertion.

According to a survey published Monday by PwC, nearly 60% of Chinese CEOs said last year that the United States was the most important foreign market for their company's growth. That number has since dropped to 17%.

And foreign direct investment from China into the United States plummeted by 83% in 2018, according to a report released last week by law firm Baker McKenzie.

This story was first published on CNN.com, "Huawei executive: Tech is the biggest loser in the trade war."