China stops buying Canadian canola amid diplomatic tensions

Canola seed exporters report China, major market for Canadian farmers, has stopped buying their product, according to an industry group. China receives about 40 per cent of Canada’s canola exports.

The Canola Council of Canada (CCC) says China has stopped buying canola seeds from Canada. The CCC stated in a press release that “Chinese importers are unwilling to purchase Canadian canola seed at this time.” Earlier in March, China started blocking canola imports from Canada, citing the detection of “hazardous organisms,” but International Trade Minister Jim Carr said he had seen no evidence of this. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told reporters he’s optimistic the government will make headway on the issue.

The dispute over canola comes after Canada arrested Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou — called China’s “tech princess” — on charges on behalf of the U.S. She and the company are facing 13 charges, including conspiring to defraud U.S. banks by misrepresenting the tech giant’s relationship with a company that operated in Iran. She is currently facing extradition to the U.S. Tensions between Canada and China have ramped up since her arrest in Vancouver in December.

One of Canada’s largest grain processors, Winnipeg-based Richardson International Ltd., said on March 5 that China had revoked its permit to export canola there. China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said the permit was revoked “in accordance with laws and regulations and international practice” because of “harmful organisms.” China receives about 40 per cent of Canada’s canola exports.

CCC president Jim Everson said China represents a $2.7-billion market in Canola, and that it was very important to keep this market open to Canadian farmers. “We want to make every effort to make sure that we’re continuing to provide canola to the market,” he told Global News.

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