By Paul Vieira

 

OTTAWA--Canada said Wednesday that Chinese authorities have lifted a yearslong ban on canola seed imports from two of Canada's biggest grain handlers.

The ban dates back to March 2019, in the aftermath of Canada's role in the arrest of Huawei Technologies Co.'s chief financial officer, Meng Wanzhou. Ms. Meng was arrested by Canadian authorities in late 2018, at the U.S.'s behest, on allegations that she and Huawei violated U.S. sanctions on Iran.

The U.S. Justice Department agreed in September to allow Ms. Meng to leave Canada--where she faced an extradition hearing--for her home in China, after she admitted to some wrongdoing in exchange for prosecutors deferring and later dropping wire and bank fraud charges.

Canada's ministers of agriculture and trade said in a joint statement that, based on their information, two Canada-based companies--Richardson International and Glencore-controlled Viterra Inc.--can resume shipping canola seed to China.

"We welcome this decision to remove the restrictions," the Canadian ministers said.

Representatives from the Chinese embassy in Ottawa and Viterra did not respond to requests for comment. A spokesperson for Richardson, based in Winnipeg, Manitoba, said Canadian officials informed the company that the ban on China-bound canola seed shipments was lifted.

Back in 2019, Chinese authorities said they revoked the export licenses belonging to Richardson and Viterra after the discovery of pests in canola-seed shipments bound for China. Canadian officials said at the time inspectors reviewed the affected canola seed twice and both times found it met international health standards.

Chinese authorities also detained and later charged two Canadian men in late 2018 on espionage charges in a move that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau repeatedly linked to Ms. Meng's arrest. The two men, Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, returned to Canada last fall, at the same time as Ms. Meng's release.

 

Write to Paul Vieira at paul.vieira@wsj.com

 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

May 18, 2022 18:31 ET (22:31 GMT)

Copyright (c) 2022 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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