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article imageChina canola ban adds to Trudeau's troubled China relations

By Ken Hanly     Mar 31, 2019 in Politics
China appears to be ramping up pressure on Justin Trudeau in a feud that already had the Canadian prime minister facing increasingly tense relations with few good options.
Several explanations given by China of canola ban
China has often explained the ban as resulting from concerns about canola quality due to insect infestation as reported in a recent Digital Journal article with foreign affairs minister Lu Kang saying: "I can tell you responsibly that the Chinese government's decision is definitely well-founded. Upon verification, China customs has recently detected dangerous pests in canola imported from Canada many times."
A Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Geng Shuan claimed: “The Chinese side has taken these precautionary quarantine measures to ensure safety. As for China-Canada relations, we hope that the Canadian side could work with us to promote the sound and steady development of bilateral relations. The Canadian side should take some concrete measures to correct its previous mistakes.”
Shuan also speaks of Canadian "previous mistakes" as a reason for the ban perhaps referring to the arrest last December of Huawei, Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Meng Wanzhou in Vancouver at the request of the US. Wanzhou is also the daughter of the founder of Huawei the giant Chinese telecommunications firm.
Trudeau has also showed some concern about two Canadians held in China on national security grounds. On top of this he is no doubt under pressure from the US to ban Huawei from Canadian 5G wireless networks. The US has been putting pressure on EU countries to do so but the EU has left banning to individual states as reported in a recent Digital Journal article.
At this point as the extradition proceedings against Wanzhou are in process Trudeau cannot legally intervene in Meng's case. At the same time Trump has hinted that the arrest is politically motivated in that she could be a bargaining chip in US China trade talks. Perhaps Canada was unwise to carry out the US arrest request in the first place. The arrest may have been carried out without concern for Wanzhou's rights as well.
Meng Zhou suing Canada
As a recent Reuters report notes: " The lawyers for Huawei Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou are suing the Canadian government, its border agency and federal police, alleging their client was detained, searched and interrogated for three hours in violation of her constitutional rights."
Reactions to Chinese move:
Guy Saint-Jacques, a former Canadian ambassador to China said referring to an earlier agreement with China re canola exports: “This is part of the usual playbook that is used by China. Nothing has changed in the meantime -- except we have entered into this big bilateral crisis following the arrest of Ms. Meng.” Canada had shipped $4.4 billion worth of canola according to the Canola Council of Canada. Trudeau is considering sending a delegation to China to discuss the rejected orders with the Chinese.
Jim Everson of the Canola Council supported the idea of sending a delegation to China to discuss the issues they have raised. He said farmers are quite perplexed by what the issues are.
Wang Peng of the Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies at Remnin University of China claimed that in spite of the canola pressure China was actually backing away from an adversarial stance: “The tough strategy has not worked so well. China has realized that Canada is much more reliant on America than China. Therefore China’s strategy has become more rational, effective and realistic.” He said China should not expect to be able to use pressure to stop legal cooperation between the US and Canada since the two countries share an extradition treaty. Peng says that China should concentrate on a legal to fight to free Meng. Wang said: “Legal methods have become the mainstream approach. It is unwise for China to solve this problem through a primarily political approach.”
More about china canada relations, Meng Wanzhou, Canadian canola exports
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