Richardson International's license to export canola seed to China was suspended effective March first.
This after months of issues raised by China about non-compliant shipments, namely that they had within them pests that were prohibited.
Richardson's Vice-President of Corporate Affairs Jean-Marc Ruest says after much testing they firmly believe that these pests were not present in the shipments, which was also confirmed by Canadian regulators.
Richardson's Vice-President of Corporate Affairs Jean-Marc Ruest
"We firmly believe that the shipments were in all respects, compliant with Chinese requirements. The timing of the suspension will lead us to believe that it may be part of a wider issue between Canada and China," commented Ruest. "This is an issue that has been brewing for a while. The singling out of Richardson is unfortunate because we truly believe its not a Richardson issue specifically."
Ruest says Richardson has been in close communication with both levels of the Canadian government and there is strong support on all fronts.
He was asked what impact this will have on farmer contracts.
"We're going to have to see how this plays out and how big of an issue this is," said Ruest. "There's some short-term, medium-term, and longer-term planning that has to take place in all of this but it's clear that all of this adds a lot of uncertainty in the marketplace and that's very unfortunate for the industry as a whole and for western Canadian producers specifically."
Ruest adds if this truly is a technical issue then he hopes it can get worked out quickly, however if it's part of a larger issue then it's unclear how it will play out.