BEIJING/KABUL : 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.
It wasn’t immediately clear why Richardson’s exports into China, the world’s top importer of canola, had been halted. Officials at China’s General Administration of Customs didn’t respond to requests for comment.
But the move comes amid heightened tensions between the two countries in a dispute over trade and telecoms technology that has ensnared the chief financial officer of the world’s largest telecommunications equipment maker, Huawei Technologies Ltd, who faces U.S. criminal charges.
The March 1 customs document is a revised version of a notice first posted on Jan. 14. A note beside the entry for Richardson International in the latest document says, “Canola export registration already canceled”.
A Canadian grain industry source with knowledge of the matter confirmed Richardson’s exports of canola to China had been halted. The person declined to be identified citing the sensitivity of the matter.
A lasting block on Richardson’s canola exports would be a headache for Canada’s biggest grain handler and a potential blow for the Canadian economy as a whole.
Oilseeds like canola, fruit and grain are Canada’s biggest China export category, making up nearly 17 percent of all exports in 2017, the latest annual data available, according to the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada.
(GRAPHIC: Canada to China exports link: tmsnrt.rs/2Urb9et)
Spokespeople at Richardson’s headquarters in Canada couldn’t be reached outside normal business hours.
Canada’s embassy in Beijing referred Reuters’ request for comment to government officials in Ottawa.