Expanding Canola Pile Sparks Questions on China-Canada Trade

(Bloomberg) -- Brewing tensions between Canada and China following the arrest of a Huawei Technologies Co. executive in Vancouver has sparked a notion that another North American oilseed has become a trade target.

Canada’s inventories of canola, the cop used in everything from salad dressing to deep-frying, rose to a record 14.6 million metric tons in December, largely because of lower exports, Statistics Canada said Tuesday in a report. The data may suggest that shipments to China, the biggest buyer, slowed in the weeks following the arrest in December of Huawei Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou, said Brian Voth, president of Intelli Farm Inc.

“I think it’s a little early to be making that conclusion yet, but given that China did make the comment that if we didn’t let the CFO go that Canada would pay, this would be one way of doing it and one way of hurting Canada,” Voth said Tuesday on a conference call with reporters. “If this keeps going, it could be a possibility.”

Canada, the world’s top canola producer, exported 5.03 million tons in the five months ended Jan. 31, down down 7.4 percent from a year earlier, Canadian Grain Commission data show. China has resumed buying soybeans from the U.S. in the past few weeks after shunning the oilseed since the middle of 2018 as part of a persistent trade battle.

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