China ratchets up pressure on Canada amid Huawei dispute

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BEIJING (AP) — China said Wednesday that its suspension this week of the license of a second major Canadian canola exporter is justified by safety concerns, as the sides continue to feud over Ottawa’s detention of a top executive of Chinese telecom giant Huawei.

China’s actions were “scientific and reasonable,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said, adding that Canada should “take practical measures to correct the mistakes it made earlier” in dealing with the overall relationship.

China’s suspension of the license of canola seeds from Viterra Inc. on Tuesday is a blow to $2 billion worth of exports widely seen as retaliation for Canada’s arrest of Meng Wanzhou, the daughter of Huawei’s founder.

China earlier had halted imports from Canada’s other major canola exporter, Richardson International Ltd.

In both cases, China cited hazardous organisms found in shipments of the seeds and Geng said it acted “in line with relevant Chinese laws and regulations, as well as the international practice.”

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Without mentioning Huawei directly, he said China hopes Canada can “get along with us to ensure the sound and steady development of China-Canada relations.”

China was infuriated by Meng’s Dec. 1 arrest on a U.S. extradition warrant alleging fraud and has since arrested several Canadian citizens on charges the government here says are spurious.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he might send a high-level delegation to China over the canola issue and acknowledged “challenges” in Canada’s relationship with Beijing.

Canada last year exported $2.1 billion worth of canola seeds to China, by far its largest customer for the grain, which represented 17 percent of all Canadian exports to China.

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