(Yicai Global) March 7 -- China's customs administrator issued a warning notice today, ordering a halt to imports of Canadian canola products with serious problems.
The General Administration of Customs of China took action after detecting harmful organisms in multiple batches of canola oil from Canada. It also instructed customs authorities across China to strengthen quarantine procedures for these products.
Canada exported canola worth more than CAD5 billion (USD3.7 billion) last year, industry data show, nearly half of which went to China, the world's top importer of canola cooking oil.
The GACC has also canceled the registration of Richardson International and its affiliates and blocked canola shipments by the Canadian agribusiness this month, the agency said in a notice on its website today. It has also ordered all local agencies to toughen quarantine of Canadian canola seeds, carefully inspecting them for plant diseases and weeds and promptly reporting to the GACC.
"The situation with the Richardson company concerns me greatly," Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said. "We think that there are no scientific reasons for this action."
Authorities at the Port of Huangpu in Guangzhou and in the cities of Dalian, Nanning and Shenzhen have found harmful organisms, including Leptosphaeria maculans, Pseudomonas syringae pv., Maculicola, Avena ludoviciana Durien, Xanthium sp., and Amaranthus palmeri S. Watson, in Canadian rapeseed imports multiple times, the notice said.
The warning will be in effect until it is lifted, which means that Winnipeg-based Richardson will be unable to export its canola oil products to China.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang insisted at a daily news briefing in Beijing yesterday that the decision was well founded. Customs recently found dangerous pests in Canadian canola imports on numerous occasions and it was particularly severe with Richardson's products.
China has made a decision to suspend imports, in accordance with laws, regulations and international practices, which is completely reasonable and legal, Lu added.
Canada is the world's largest producer and exporter of canola and canola oil. It should understand that the introduction of harmful organisms will pose a serious threat to agricultural production and ecological security, Lu said. The Chinese government needs to protect the health and safety of its people just like other countries, he added.