OTTAWA — China’s move to stop buying several Canadian agricultural products has punished some farmers, and now industry leaders are worrying about the prospect of a broader threat — an eventual U.S.-China trade deal.
Canadian exports of beef, pork, canola and soybeans have largely been locked out of the massive Chinese market following the December arrest of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou in Vancouver.
At the same time, a handful of Canadian crops have had stronger sales to China over the past year, such as Canadian wheat, thanks to trade-related tariffs imposed by the U.S.
Canadian Agri-food Trade Alliance president Brian Innes says Canada may see indirect benefits from the trade war in the short term — but he worries a deal down the road could have a negative impact on farm exports to China.
Innes says President Donald Trump has been clear that any trade deal must include China agreeing to make major agricultural purchases from the U.S.
He says Canadian exporters would like to see the government push for the removal of non-tariff barriers in other foreign markets — such as those in Europe and the Pacific Rim — because they have prevented farmers from fully benefiting from multilateral trade deals.
At the moment, there are few signs of progress in the U.S.-China trade talks, but negotiators are expected to meet next month.