Meng extradition case to start formally in January 2020

The formal extradition case for Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. CFO Meng Wanzhou is now set to begin on January 20 next year, Canadian courts announced on Thursday.

The scheduling comes as Associate Chief Justice Heather Holmes largely went with the proposed dated provided by Meng's lawyers after consultation with crown attorneys who are representing the United States, the country requesting the extradition.

Legal experts have said the case - one of the most high-profile extradition cases in Canadian history and a key friction point between Canada and China in the recent decline in relations - is likely to drag on for years before a decision can be reached on whether Meng will be extradited. On Thursday, her lawyers confirmed those speculations, noting it is unlikely for a ruling to be made within two years.

The current schedule has the extradition case's last hearing scheduled for October 20, with two additional weeks in November preliminarily set aside for the potential for further hearings.

Observers have said the longer the case of Meng - also the daughter of Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei - drags on, the more pressure Beijing is likely to put on Ottawa in the forms of trade disruptions and other retaliatory actions. Two Canadians are currently arrested and charged with spying in moves widely seen as retaliation for Meng's arrest.

Meng and Huawei are facing accusations of defying U.S. sanctions in Iran by operating there, then laundering the proceeds through the American banking system. Huawei is also accused of stealing trade secrets from companies such as T-Mobile USA. Huawei has denied all charges.