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article imageChina blocks canola shipments from major Canadian supplier

By Karen Graham     Mar 5, 2019 in World
Winnipeg - China has canceled major Canadian agribusiness Richardson International Ltd's registration to ship canola to China, according to a document listing approved exporters posted on the website of the Chinese customs administration on March 1.
According to Global News, the reason for the revocation of the permit to ship canola to China wasn't immediately clear, and officials with China’s General Administration of Customs did not respond to requests for comment.
China's latest move comes while tensions between China and Canada are escalating due to trade and telecom differences that have ensnared the chief financial officer of China's biggest smartphone maker, Huawei Technologies Ltd, who faces U.S. criminal charges.
So far, no one is talking about the situation. Richardson's headquarters in Winnipeg, Canada didn't reply to a request for comment, and the Canadian Embassy in China referred Reuters' request for comment to government officials in Ottawa, according to CNBC.
Actually, the March 1 customs document is a revision of a notice first posted on Jan. 14 by Chinese Customs officials. The March 1 document has a note beside the Richardson entry that reads: “Canola export registration already canceled."
A Canadian grain industry source who did not want to be identified due to the sensitivity of the matter did confirm Richardson's exports of canola to China had been canceled, according to CBC Canada.
A blow to the Canadian grain industry
Winnipeg-based Richardson International describes itself as "Canada’s largest agribusiness and is recognized as a global leader in agriculture and food processing. The company is a worldwide handler and merchandiser of all major Canadian-grown grains and oilseeds."
A spokesperson for the Canola Council of Canada said Canada exported more than $5 billion worth of canola last year, with about half being exported to China. This includes exports by Richardson, Viterra, and Cargill Ltd.
Noting that Richardson is one of the largest single canola exporters in Canada, Canola Council communications director Heidi Dancho said that "news about blocked exports hurts the whole value chain."
"While diplomatic frictions are concerning, there is no clear evidence that current challenges are linked to these frictions," she added.
In a CBC interview on Friday, Brock University professor Charles Burton, a former Canadian diplomat who served two postings in China, while discussing the increased tensions between Beijing and Canada said it was likely that China would retaliate over the detention and extradition of the Huawei chief financial officer.
Brock also said that a crackdown on Canadian canola would be one possible tactic China would employ. "They're not going to take this lying down," he said. "One shudders to think what the consequences could be."
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