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China wants Canada to ‘correct the mistakes it made earlier’ to lift canola oil ban

China wants Canada to ‘correct the mistakes it made earlier’ to lift canola oil ban
Beijing is continuing to halt Canadian canola exports, gradually shutting the world’s biggest consumer market to its rapeseed oil producers, amid an ongoing diplomatic spat over the arrest of China’s top telecom executive.

So far, China has suspended canola imports from two Canadian companies. Viterra, the nation's largest grain handler, was banned from the Chinese market earlier this week, while agricultural and food industry company Richardson International, a major Canadian canola exporter, was banned three weeks ago. Chinese officials cited pest concerns as the reason for the ban.

Beijing and Ottawa have been involved in an escalating diplomatic and trade conflict since December, when Canadian authorities detained Meng Wanzhou, vice-chairperson and CFO of Chinese telecom giant Huawei. The top executive was reportedly detained at the request of Washington which accuses Meng of violating US sanctions against Iran.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang called the step towards banning Canadian canola “scientific and reasonable,” stressing that Ottawa should make moves to “correct the mistakes it made earlier.”

Canada is the world’s number one producer of rapeseed. The country accounts for nearly 21.1 million metric tons out of global production that reportedly reached 28 million metric tons in 2018. Last year, the country exported over $5 billion worth of canola with nearly half of the volume shipped to the Chinese market, according to the data compiled by the Canadian Canola Growers Association.

The Canadian federal government is taking the situation “very seriously,” according to the country’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

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