Chinese importers are unwilling to purchase Canadian canola seed at the moment, the group that represents the industry in Canada says.
Earlier this month, Chinese customs authorities revoked the sales licence for a major Canadian canola supplier, Richardson International. Officials said the move was related to “dangerous pests” such as fungi in the crop, an allegation the company has strongly denied.
But against the backdrop of escalating trade tensions with China, there was speculation that pushing back against a major Canadian crop was an attempt to send a political message.
Now it seems Richardson is not the only company being shut out of the Chinese market.
“While there was some initial optimism that Chinese concerns with canola trade could be resolved quickly, technical discussions to date have not indicated an immediate resolution is possible,” said the Canola Council of Canada (CCC). “Canola seed exporters report that Chinese importers are unwilling to purchase Canadian canola seed at this time.”
Canola seeds can be crushed to produce an oil used in food and cooking. The “can” in Canola stands for Canada, since the specific variety of the plant known as rapeseed that has a bright yellow flower was invented by Canadian researchers several decades ago.
About 40 per cent of Canada’s canola seed exports last year went to China, worth about $2.7 billion. Canada also sent about $1 billion worth of canola oil to China, and about $500 million worth of canola meal, which is the crushed seed variety that has had its oil removed, and is used as animal food.
Up until the recent disruption, Chinese demand for Canadian canola has been strong, the group says.
“We urge the government of Canada to continue to intensify efforts to resolve the situation,” CCC president Jim Everson said.
This story originally appeared on CBC