China is promising consequences for countries who boycott the Winter Olympics
By Diego Flammini
An already strained relationship between Canada and China could get even more challenging.
China has warned countries who have announced diplomatic boycotts of the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing will “pay the price for their mistaken acts.”
Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and Lithuania have already announced they will not send dignitaries to the games in February because of human rights issues between the Chinese government and the county’s Uyghur population.
Prime Minister Trudeau announced Canada’s diplomatic boycott on Dec. 8.
What consequences these countries could experience remains to be seen.
For Canada, could it mean further difficulties for the ag sector?
Following Canada’s arrest of Huawei executive Men Wanzhou on Dec. 1, 2018, China blocked imports of Canadian canola and all Canadian meat, citing impurities and labeling issues, though never outright linking the two issues.
China may take similar courses of action, but they also need imports, said Moe Agostino, chief commodity strategist with Farms.com Risk Management.
“We’ve seen China target Canadian ag before,” he told Farms.com. “They find something and make an excuse. It may happen and we can’t rule it out completely. “But the bottom line is that China needs grain, and I don’t think these geopolitical situations are going to stop them from buying it.”
China has targeted trade before 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.
In 2019, China restricted imports of Australian coal after the country banned Huawi from its 5G network due to security concerns.
And in March 2021, China banned imports of Taiwanese pineapples citing pest issues, though Taiwanese officials claimed no pest problems.