“Dangerous pests” found in canola shipments, a Chinese official said
By Diego Flammini
China is blocking some Canadian canola imports due to perceived quality issues within grain shipments.
“I can tell you responsibly that the Chinese government’s decision is definitely well founded,” said Lu Kang, a spokesperson with China’s foreign ministry, The Associated Press reported. “Upon verification, China customs has recently detected dangerous pests in canola imported from Canada many times.”
China appears to have targeted one specific Canadian grain exporter.
Richardson International had its registration to ship canola to Canada cancelled, the company confirmed to CTV News.
The revocation “means that we’re no longer authorized to export Canadian canola seed to China from our terminals,” Jean-Marc Ruest, senior vice-president corporate affairs and general counsel for Richardson, told CTV News yesterday.
Canada questions China’s claims of low-quality canola.
The CFIA conducted investigations into the canola and “confirmed they have not identified any pests or bacteria of concern,” Marie-Claude Bibeau, Canada’s new federal ag minister, told CTV News in a written statement.
“I am very concerned by what we’ve heard has happened to Richardson,” Chrystia Freeland, Canada’s foreign affairs minister, told reporters Tuesday. “We do not believe there’s any scientific basis for this.”
China is a key market for Canadian canola.
Canada exported about $3.6 billion of canola products to China in 2017, the Canola Council of Canada says.
Any disruptions to that market access could have a domino effect.
“News about blocked exports hurts the whole value chain,” the organization said in a statement Tuesday, PembinaValley Online reported. “Demand for high-quality oil and protein remains strong in China, and Canada remains a reliable and sustainable supplier of food for China.”
China’s decision to block some Canadian canola imports could be related to another international issue.
Canada is moving forward with an extradition hearing for Meng Wanzhou, the CFO of Huawei, a Chinese telecommunications company.
Authorities in Vancouver arrested Waznhou on Dec. 1 at the request of the U.S. China has been unhappy with Canada ever since.
“There’s no doubt China is mad at us,” Neil Townsend, senior market analyst with FarmLink, told The Canadian Press Tuesday. “So now there’s going to be more canola left over at the end of the year, which is going to hurt prices for the remainder of this year, and into the next growing season.”
This instance wouldn’t be the first time China targeted trade in response to other issues.
In 2010, China suspended trade with Norway and restricted salmon imports after Liu Xiaobo, a Chinese political prisoner, won the Nobel Peace Prize. The two countries repaired their relationship in 2016.