China recently announced they would stop receiving canola from Canada, the latest move in the spat between the two nations since Canada arrested the chief financial officer of Chinese tech giant Huawei earlier this year.
Richardson-Pioneer is the company targeted by the move, with China officially stating the reason is due to quality concerns. The Senior Vice-President of Corporate Affairs with Richardson Pioneer, Jean-Marc Ruest, said they are hoping it is a quality issue.
"The fact that we're convinced that our shipments didn't have any quality problems associated with them, our long history of shipping without any problems, no customer complaints, so we're a little bit concerned that it may be something other than what has been alleged but we're still hopeful that it can be quickly resolved,” Ruest said.
Richardson-Pioneer is not the only grain buyer and distributor that's being held back from sending shipments into China, all Canadian shipments of the valuable product have been stopped, but a shipment from Richardson was the first to be denied entry and the one that started the issues for the agriculture sector. While the problem has been declared an issue with the quality of the product, Richardson has still not been given a solid response as to what the problem is.
"The first part for us is to understand how long of an issue will be to resolve itself, so currently we're focused on addressing what these technical issues are, the quality issues that have been alleged to be the problem with the shipments. We're comfortable that there were no quality issues and so the Canadian Government and the Chinese regulators are attempting to sort that through, and hopefully we'll be able to solve that quickly."
If the problem cannot be resolved quickly, it becomes a bit more of a problem for those involved.
Grain buyers across the country are doing their best to assure producers the situation will be resolved quickly, but prices are showing otherwise, with the price dropping steadily so far this month. As China buys up roughly 40 percent of Canadian canola products, it has left a number of rail cars with nowhere to go unless other buyers can be found.
“You always hope that the international marketplace is going to be a stable one, and so when you have something like this that hits the system, it just creates more uncertainty that we could certainly do without," Ruest stated.