April 30, 2019
Canada farm exports held at ports in China amid diplomatic spat
Canada's farm exports to China, including soybeans and pork, have recently been hindered from entry at Chinese ports - a development that is linked to a diplomatic spat between both countries, South China Morning Post reported.
In December last year, Canada arrested a top executive of Chinese telecom giant Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. at the request of the US government. This was followed by China's detention of two Canadian citizens.
Since January, Chinese port soybean inspections, which usually take a few days, now require three weeks, according to Dwight Gerling, president of Canadian exporter DG Global. As a result, Chinese buyers have avoided Canadian products.
Gerling believed that the prolonged inspection could be a politically motivated move. "They're basically sending out the signal, 'You buy from Canada, we're going to make your life difficult,'" he said.
So far, sellers of Canadian soybeans and peas reported difficulty in getting their products past Chinese customs. Ottawa also warned that China was holding up pork shipments over paperwork issues.
China has already blocked Canadian canola from Richardson International and Viterra, two of Canada's biggest farm exporters, saying that shipments had pests. Other China-bound canola cargoes have been cancelled, forcing exporters to resell elsewhere at a discount.
Chinese buyers have cancelled at least 10 cargoes of Canadian canola in the past few weeks, according to a Singapore-based trader at a company that runs crushing facilities in China. Some cargoes, around 60,000 tonnes each, have been resold to buyers in Pakistan and Bangladesh at deep discounts, the trader said.
Chinese officials claimed the canola ban is part of a regular inspection and quarantine measure to protect the country's farm production and ecological safety. Meanwhile, the Canadian agriculture department said it could not confirm that China had imposed stricter measures against farm goods other than canola.
Increasing tensions with China, a top buyer for most Canadian farm commodities, have forced farmers to plant other crops, such as wheat, that they hope will not face barriers.
China bought US$2.01 billion worth of Canada's canola and US$381 million worth of its pork last year.
- South China Morning Post