Billionaire media mogul Michael Bloomberg is warning against using the case involving a top Huawei Technologies Inc. executive as a bargaining chip in U.S.-China trade talks, adding that the controversy is creating “collateral damage” for Canada.

“Having asked Canada to intervene in the Huawei Technologies case it would be an outrage if Washington dropped its extradition request in exchange for China agreeing to resume buying a few more U.S. products,” Bloomberg said at an event held in Toronto and moderated by BNN Bloomberg’s Amanda Lang on Tuesday. 

“That is not the way our government has ever conducted business. Treating prisoners like hostages that can be exchanged for cash is what terrorists and dictators do, not democracies – and certainly not America and Canada.”

The former New York City mayor’s comments come after U.S. President Donald Trump said in December that he would “certainly intervene” to have charges stayed against Huawei Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou, who was arrested by Canadian authorities in Vancouver last month on a U.S. extradition request and later released on bail, if he thought it would help trade negotiations with China.

Tensions between Canada and China have since escalated with China’s detention of two Canadians in the wake of Meng’s arrest. A Chinese court also sentenced a Canadian man to death for drug trafficking this week, a move that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has denounced as “arbitrary.”

“Unfortunately our misguided trade war with China is creating collateral damage for you here in [Canada],” Bloomberg said.

Bloomberg reiterated on Tuesday that he expects to make a decision on a 2020 U.S. presidential bid by January or February, but said there’s no rush since he’s planning to self-fund his campaign.

“Most people want to rush into it because they want to raise money and tie up some of the big donors before they commit elsewhere,” Bloomberg said.

“In my case, it doesn’t matter, so you can wait until March. My donor isn’t walking away from me.”

BNN Bloomberg is a partner of the media division of Bloomberg LP, which was founded by Michael Bloomberg.