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China stops buying Canadian canola

Canola Council sees no path for 'immediate' resolution of export block

jim everson
Canola Council of Canada president Jim Everson says China's block on Canadian canola has now expanded beyond just shipments from Richardson International. (Co-operator file photo by Allan Dawson)

China has stopped buying any Canadian canola, says Canola Council of Canada president Jim Everson.

“The Chinese are unwilling to purchase Canadian canola (from any company) at this time,” he said Thursday.

“Trade that was executed earlier is continuing. New sales are what appears to be affected.”

Earlier this month China blocked canola imports from Canada’s Richardson International, saying it was contaminated with weed seeds and plant diseases.

Winnipeg-based Richardson, backed by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, said based on its samples the shipments were fine.

That led many in the industry to believe China was signalling its displeasure over Canada’s decision to arrest Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer of Chinese technology firm Huawei, at the request of the U.S. government, which seeks her extradition on allegations of fraud.

There was some initial optimism that Chinese concerns with canola trade could be resolved quickly, the CCC said in a news release Thursday, but technical discussions to date have not indicated an immediate resolution is possible.

“Canola seed exporters report that Chinese importers are unwilling to purchase Canadian canola seed at this time,” the council said.

China has been a major market for Canadian canola, accounting for approximately 40 per cent of all canola seed, oil and meal exports, the release said.

Canola seed exports to China were worth $2.7 billion in 2018. Demand has been very strong until recent disruptions.

The fundamentals remain unchanged, Everson said, as Canada continues to produce more high-quality canola and China needs it.

“I think the government, with respect to the canola issue, have responded very quickly and senior officials and officials from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency have responded very quickly and have engaged the Chinese on issue,” he said.

“If these technical discussions are not able to resolve this situation quickly we hope the government of Canada can continue to intensify efforts to resolve this situation. But I would say the government has been very quick and very senior levels have responded to the canola issue.”

— Allan Dawson is a reporter with the Manitoba Co-operator at Miami, Man. Follow him at @AllanReporter on Twitter.

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