Chinese officials confirmed Tuesday that custom officers found pests in long imports from Canada, although Beijing has currently not announced any export bans related to these incidents.
According to Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Zhao Lijian at the government body’s daily press briefings this morning, Chinese customs officers found several types of beetles in inbound logs from Canada, including species such as longhorn and bark beetles, from January to April.
The infected logs, according to Chinese reports, were found in ports-of-entry in several cities, including Shanghai and Shenzhen (as well as in secondary cities such as Nanjing, Dalian and Shijiazhuang).
“To prevent the pests from spreading in China, custom authorities have conducted sanitation/de-pesting procedures on the affected logs in accordance with Chinese laws and regulations,” Zhao said. “At the same time, Chinese authorities have contacted Canadian counterparts immediately about the logs that have breached approved standards for importation in accordance to international law; we have asked Canadian authorities to investigate and improve the situation.”
Zhao stressed that such checks on Canadian lumber is standard practice and carried out in accordance with global trade regulations.
There has been fear of economic reprisal from Beijing among many observers in Canada in the last two weeks after Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. CFO Meng Wanzhou lost her first challenge to avoid extradition to the United States on the grounds of double criminality.
Also, Telus Corp. and Bell Canada decided last week to drop using Huawei equipment for Canada’s 5G network, further intensifying speculation that China may take retaliatory measures towards Canada.
After Meng was arrested in Vancouver in late 2018, Beijing has arrested two Canadian citizens and banned shipments of canola and red meat - ostensibly for reasons unrelated to the Huawei executive’s extradition process.
Zhao gave no indication Tuesday if any sanctions towards Canadian log exports are coming.
B.C. exported $372 million worth of logs to the Chinese market in 2019 - which makes the Asian country the largest export market for logs produced in the province.