China continues to outlaw Canadian canola, announces more bans

Noah Bergstrom / March 28, 2018

A field of rapeseed, ready to be converted into litres of canola
(RYTC / flickr)

Canola oil has been important to Canada’s economy and farmers since the country trademarked Canola in 1978. Since then this country has cemented its place in the industry providing the world with roughly half of its Canola annually. One of Canada’s Canola customers however has raised quality concerns about the product that was named after this country.

China has banned 2 large Canadian distributors from dealing in their country, siting that their product had been home to pests. It started with Canada’s biggest Canola exporter Richardson international earlier this month. Yesterday China then upped the anti on their boycott by adding Viterra a Saskatchewan based Canola producer, after hazardous organisms were allegedly found in their product.

Not everyone is certain of China’s motif, Jean-Marc Ruest a senior vice president for Richardson International wondered if rising tensions between the countries could be to blame for his companies misfortune.

“I think that we are being caught in the middle of a much larger dispute, As a large Canadian corporation, there is a certain motivation to target Richardson.”

– Jean-Marc Ruest, senior vice president for Richardson International

After the arrest of high profile Chinese tech executive Meng Wanzhou in December the Canadian government has had to justify their decision to pursue charges. Wanzhou is an executive at Huawei technologies, her fathers company and China’s largest smartphone provider.

Facing charges for fraud and wire fraud Wanzhou is wanted for her companies alleged  involvement in trade with Iran, the United states has requested her extradition. Wanzhou is currently under 24 hour surveillance at a Vancouver residence. Action progressing in the court room has seemingly only increased Chinese discontent. The countries foreign minister even threatened “grave consequences” if Canada continues to align its initiatives with the United States, and prosecutes Wanzhou.

Other Canadian Canola companies not officially a part of China’s growing blacklist have reported cancelled orders in the region, could Canada’s Canola industry and 43,000 farmers be at the mercy of Meng Wanzhou and the decision of B.C. courts?

Sabrina Meng Wanzhou has found herself in the middle of an international dispute, the United States has requested her extradition from Canada.
(South China Morning Post)