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Asian Markets Down; Hong Kong Stocks Slump 3% Following Huawei CFO Arrest

Investing.com - Asian markets traded lower in morning trade on Thursday, with Hong Kong stocks dropping almost 3% after the arrest of the chief financial officer of China tech giant Huawei Technologies.

Canada’s Department of Justice said on Wednesday that Meng Wanzhou, CFO of Huawei, was arrested in Vancouver due to violations of U.S. sanctions. She is facing extradition to the United States, according to various media.

Following the announcement, China’s embassy in Canada criticised Canada and the U.S. for wrongfully arresting Meng and demanded her immediate release.

“The Canadian police, at the request of the United States, arrested a Chinese citizen who had not violated any U.S. or Canadian law,” the embassy said in a short statement on its website.

“China has already made solemn representations to the United States and Canada, demanding they immediately correct their wrong behaviour and restore Ms Meng Wanzhou’s freedom.”

The news broke after the U.S. and China agreed to halt the planned increase in tariffs to 25% from 10% on Chinese imports earlier this week.

China’s Ministry of Commerce released its first official statement on the meeting on Wednesday and said the trade meeting with the U.S. was “very successful”, although it did not provide any further details on the outcome of the meeting.

The Ministry added that Beijing would begin to work quickly to implement specific issues already agreed upon, as both sides "actively promote the work of negotiations within 90 days in accordance with a clear timetable and road map".

Hours later, Bloomberg News reported that officials have begun preparing to restart imports of U.S. soybeans and liquefied natural gas.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index last traded at 26,061.00 by 10:30 PM ET (02:30 GMT), down 2.9%. China’s Shanghai Composite and the Shenzhen Component were both down 1.3% and 1.6%.

Meanwhile, Australia’s ASX 200 slipped 0.7% after data showed the country's trade surplus in October came in at around AUD 2.3 billion instead of the expected AUD 3.2 billion from a Reuters poll.

Elsewhere, Japan’s Nikkei 225 lost 2.3%, while South Korea’s KOSPI traded 1.4% lower.

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