China removes 3-year ban on Canadian canola seed

Ban widely seen as retaliation for Meng Wanzhou’s arrest

China lifted a three-year ban on Canadian canola seed imports, which was widely seen as a retaliatory move after the arrest of Huawei senior executive Meng Wanzhou.

The licenses for importing canola seeds were reinstated for two Canadian firms that China had cancelled in March 2019, when it said the product had infestations. The reinstatement appeared on the Chinese customs website Wednesday.

China is the biggest importer of Canadian canola an oil seed plant used for various purposes, including cooking oil and animal feed.

Even after banning large imports from Richardson International Ltd. and Viterra Inc., the imports were worth $1.4 billion in 2020, but that was down from $2.8 billion when the restrictions went into place, according to the Canola Council of Canada.

The news was greeted with applause by the Canadian government.

“Canada has been advised that China has reinstated access to its market for two Canadian companies that China Customs had suspended from exporting canola seed to China since March 2019,” Canadian Minister of International Trade Mary Ng and Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Marie-Claude Bibeau said in a joint statement.

“We welcome this decision to remove the restrictions and immediately reinstate the two companies to allow them to export Canadian canola seeds.”

Meng was arrested in December 2018 at an airport in Vancouver at the request of the US government, who wanted her on fraud charges.

China was incensed and demanded that she be released. Instead, she was subjected to a lengthy extradition hearing and was placed under house arrest.

The detention of two Canadians as well as the canola ban and other restrictions on various Canadian products followed the arrest. Meng was released last year in a deal where she admitted wrongdoing, as were the two Canadians shortly afterward.


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