China blocks canola shipments from Canada’s Richardson: customs document

FILE PHOTO: A canola crop used for making cooking oil sits in full bloom near Fort Macleod
FILE PHOTO: A canola crop used for making cooking oil sits in full bloom on the Canadian prairies near Fort Macleod, Alberta, Canada July 11, 2011. REUTERS/Todd Korol/File Photo

March 5, 2019

BEIJING (Reuters) – 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.

The document, a revised version of a notice first posted on Jan. 14, includes a note beside the entry for Richardson International saying, “Canola export registration already canceled”.

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 immediately respond to requests for comment.

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 China’s biggest smartphone maker, Huawei Technologies Ltd, who faces U.S. criminal charges.

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.

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.

(Reporting by Dominique Patton and Hallie Gu in BEIJING and Rod Nickel in KABUL; editing by Henning Gloystein and Kenneth Maxwell)

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