There are no indications China will be lifting restrictions on Canadian canola imports as a direct response to the exchange of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou for Canadians’ Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig, according to the president of the Canola Council of Canada.
The two Michaels returned to Canada on Friday following a deal negotiated by the United States Department of Justice that allowed the Chinese telecom executive to return to China after nearly three years under house arrest in Vancouver on a U.S. extradition request.
Following Meng’s arrest in December 2018, Canadian farmers and exporters found themselves caught in the geopolitical back-and-forth when China declared that canola shipments from Canada contained certain weed seeds, leading to the export permits for Canada’s two largest canola exporters — Richardson and Viterra — being terminated. Since then the Canola Council of Canada and the Canadian government have worked through diplomatic channels and brought the matter to the World Trade Organization, but there has been no resolution.
And it appears there will not be any immediate changes as a result of Meng Wanzhou’s release.
“I am not aware of any direct impact of yesterday’s decision on the canola situation at this point,” Canola Council president Jim Everson, tells RealAgriculture in the interview below, recorded Saturday (Sept 25).
“While there is no direct link right now, yesterday’s news really helps bring about a much more positive environment for a focus on resolving the canola issue,” he says.
Canada has been seeking resolution to the canola issue through the WTO, going back to September of 2019.
“China is a really important market for Canadian canola and we have this issue. We are looking for an open, predictable rules based environment where all of the Canadian companies are treated equally,” notes Everson.
Hear the full interview with Jim Everson, President of the Canola Council of Canada: