OTTAWA — Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau says she used a G20 ministers’ meeting in Japan to press her Chinese counterpart for the evidence behind Beijing’s bans on Canadian canola.
The overture follows last week’s intervention by Canada at a major World Trade Organization meeting to demand China deliver proof that Canadian canola is contaminated.
China has stonewalled requests for Canadian experts to examine Chinese evidence that two canola shipments had pests, and there was no sign Wednesday the Canadian food inspectors would receive travel visas from Beijing any time soon.
Bibeau made clear Canada’s persistent prodding of China and her Chinese counterpart would continue as the uncertainty and strain of declining Sino-Canadian relations was on full display.
“All of the G20 was about having a rule-based trade order, and I’m confident that he will relay our conversation to his colleague responsible for customs China,” Bibeau said.
China’s rejection of Canadian food products is part of the escalating tension following the RCMP’s December arrest in Vancouver of Huawei Technologies executive Meng Wanzhou. The Chinese telecom giant is at the centre of a mounting political battle, which was on display Wednesday, over whether it will equip Canada’s fifth-generation wireless networks.
Nine days after Meng’s arrest, China imprisoned two Canadians—ex-diplomat Michael Kovrig and entrepreneur Michael Spavor—and accused them of violating China’s national security. Spavor received his seventh consular visit Wednesday, a day after Kovrig’s seventh, as both men remain locked in a Chinese prison without formal charges and no access to lawyers.
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