Canada still exporting lots to China: analyst

Winnipeg,(MarketsFarm) – Ivy Li brought a much different perspective about China to the Grain World Conference in Saskatoon, Sask. Specializing in Chinese agricultural markets, the Beijing-based independent analyst veered away from the usual statements that often cast China as the bad guy on the world stage. Also, Li pointed out that Canada has been doing pretty well in exporting to China despite issues regarding canola.

Central to Li’s presentation on Nov. 27 was how China has continued to diversify its agricultural imports as much as possible. Just over the last year, China has either started importing or increased imports from several countries. For example: rapeseed meal from India, Kazakhstan, and Russia; soymeal from Russia and Argentina; cotton meal from Brazil; and sunflower meal from Russia.

While a lot of attention has been placed on China’s ban on canola seed imports from Canada, particularly through Richardson International and Viterra, all is far from doom and gloom she explained. With the United States/China trade war, the latter has increased its wheat imports from Canada, according to Li.

“Just in the first nine months of this year, Canada dominated. It has replaced the U.S. with a 71 percent market share this year,” she stated, adding that China has been buying more peas from Canada as well.

However, Li said there has been one aspect that might not bode well for Canada and that being flax. That’s because China has turned to neighbouring Kazakhstan for more flax.

As for canola, Li believes there are likely improvements in future. She said the Chinese ambassador to Canada commented there are few obstacles left in resolving the differences between the two countries.

One being the fate of Huawei executive Meng Wenzhou, whose extradition hearing continues in Vancouver. Meng was arrested by Canadian authorities a year ago at the request of the U.S.

Also, as reports already stated, some Canadian canola has made it into China via the United Arab Emirates, Li said.

When it came to how the U.S./China trade war can be resolved, Li heartedly laughed with “I don’t know,” adding that Chinese President Xi Jinping and U.S. President Donald Trump likely don’t know as well.

However, she said the U.S. demand of China needing to buy a specific amount of its agricultural products is far from realistic. That China wants to be free to purchase from whoever offers the best price.

In fact, with Australia’s canola production for this year on the wane, Li said China would merely turn to countries offering a better price.

Also, Li noted that when people discuss China, they need separate the government from the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). She stressed that the workings of the government are not necessarily at the behest of the governing party.

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