China has refused to renew the export licences for two major Canadian livestock genetics companies, following halting export licences for grain companies and pork facilities.
Calgary-based Alta Genetics and Guelph-based Semex Alliance are recognised as world-leading companies with ‘state-of-the-art’ production facilities.
Semex Alliance has a modern semen production facility and bull stud within China. However, the ban does not affect this enterprise. The export suspension extends to all AI companies producing semen with facilities in Canada.
The licences expired in 2018 and China has refused to renew certification, despite outstanding contracts requiring continuation of supply.
One of the contracts was believed to be for 600,000 units of Simmental beef semen, which now cannot be filled by Canadian companies.
Due to mating season timings in China, this will result in a whole year of lost supply.
China and the US are embroiled in trade disputes which have captured news headlines around the world, but China appeared to be targeting Canadian agricultural products, having last month halted the export licenses of two major grain companies, Richardson International and Vitera.
Two weeks ago, China halted the export licenses for two Canadian pork facilities due to ‘labelling’ concerns.
The move was met with astonishment owing to the massive amount of pork required within the domestic market and despite the challenges it faced from African swine fever losses.
Chinese importers have also stopped buying Canadian canola.
Tensions mounted following the arrest of Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer and deputy chairman of telecoms giant Huawei, on December 1, 2018, in Vancouver.
Ms Meng is the daughter of Ren Zhengfei, the founder of Huawei, and faces extradition to the US, based on possible violation of sanctions against Iran.
It coincided with potential Huawei technology being banned from use in western countries and the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand have major concerns.
There has also been controversy in the UK, with former Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson sacked after news leaked about Huawei’s potential involvement of the firm in the UK’s 5G network. He denied leaking the information.