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The resolution of U.S. criminal charges against Huawei Technologies Co.’s chief financial officer is boosting optimism that China and Canada can resolve a trade spat over canola.
Canada is the world’s largest grower of canola, an oilseed used in everything from salads to deep-frying, but the commodity is stuck in the crosshairs of a dispute between the nation, China and the U.S. China suspended the licenses of two major Canadian shippers, Viterra and Richardson International, in 2019 in a move that was interpreted as retaliation over the arrest of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou in Vancouver.
Now that Meng has been released and two Canadians detained in China were allowed to return home, “hopefully that lowers the temperatures between the two countries,” said Jim Everson, president of the Winnipeg-based Canola Council of Canada.
China is the largest importer of oilseeds and “our goal is to have predictable open trade,” Everson said.
Canada’s 2021 canola crop was scorched by drought so it may take time to discern if China plans to change its policy toward the nation’s big shippers, said Neil Townsend, chief market analyst at FarmLink. Canola production is poised to drop 24 per cent to 14.7 million metric tons this year as dry conditions dwindled yields to the lowest in a decade, according to Statistics Canada.
“I think we’re going to find out more about how China feels about us on the canola front when we grow a bit more,” Townsend said by phone.