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Cdn. ag could be caught in Huawei crosshairs

Cdn. ag could be caught in Huawei crosshairs

China threatened ‘severe consequences’ after Canada arrested Meng Wanzhou

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer

Canada’s ag industry could pay the price for the country’s involvement in an international arrest.

China has threatened Canada with “severe consequences” after authorities in Vancouver arrested Meng Wanzhou, the chief operating officer of Huawei Technologies, on Dec. 1.

Meng Wanzhou

Canada arrested the Chinese executive at the request of the U.S., which claims she violated “international sanctions against Iran through a ‘hidden’ Huawei subsidiary called Skycom,” CBC reported. She has since been released on $10-million bail as she awaits possible extradition the U.S.

China hasn’t announced any formal retaliations against Canada but, if they were to do so, it could come at the expense of Canadian canola producers, some industry members worry.

Canada exported $3.6 billion of canola products to China in 2017, the Canola Council of Canada says.

Through the first quarter of the 2018 marketing year, which starts Aug. 1, Canadian exports of raw canola to China are up 24 per cent from last year, said Neil Townsend, a senior market analyst with FarmLink Solutions in Winnipeg, Man.

Neil Townsend

Producers are concerned about the effects of a possible market disruption.

“China is a critical market for canola,” Townsend told “We have no idea what the Chinese may or may not do but, if they were to formally retaliate, they might target canola. It has happened in the past where they’ve inhibited the imports of canola due to issues that aren’t ongoing, but they’ve suddenly discovered.

“We’ve had several farmers reach out to us asking if this situation is going to hurt canola.”

Other ag organizations also monitoring the situation with China.

“This is a situation we are watching closely as the political environment is unpredictable and could have significant negative consequences,” Cam Dahl, president of Cereals Canada, told Bloomberg News in an email. 

Meng Wanzhou

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