Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Beef price-fixing lawsuit dismissed

Federal judge John R. Tunheim of Minnesota has dismissed a class-cation price-fixing lawsuit against the biggest beef packers in the United States.

"Because plaintiffs have not pleaded their direct evidence with sufficient detail and because they have not pleaded parallel conduct sufficient to support an inference of a price-fixing conspiracy, the court will grant defendants' motions to dismiss," Judge Tunheim said in the order.

The ranchers and consumers who brought the case “do little to allege how the individual defendants acted,” instead “arguing that the market did this or that,” Judge Tunheim wrote. That made it impossible to evaluate the “alternative economic explanations” offered by the meatpackers, he said.

The original suit was filed by R-CALF USA and four ranchers in April of 2019 against Tyson Foods, Inc., JBS S.A., National Beef Packing Company, LLC, and Cargill Inc., alleging the companies conspired to depress the price of fed cattle they purchased, thereby inflating their own margins and profits.



Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Chinese milk plant sideswiped by CUSMA

The CBC has obtained a three-page letter that warned Canadian politicians that the new trade deal among Canada, the United States and Mexico would sideswipe its $322-million investment in an infant formula milk processing plant.

Zhiwen Yang, the general manager of Canada Royal Milk — the Canadian subsidiary of China Feihe Limited — wrote to then-Agriculture Minister Lawrence MacAulay and the Liberal MP for Kingston and the Islands, Mark Gerretsen, describing how Canada's concessions in the Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA) put his business plans in jeopardy by limiting how much cow's milk formula it can export and dismantling the dairy ingredient pricing system.

Yang asked the federal government to "mitigate the risks to the project." His three-page letters, dated Oct. 16, 2018, were released to CBC News under the Access to Information Act.

A few days later, Feihe International Inc. "respectfully" asked the president of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and another senior government official to meet for 90 minutes on Oct. 29 with Yang and his boss, Feihe International chair Youbin Leng, who was travelling to Canada with his directors of research and regulatory affairs.

"The purpose of the meeting is to discuss the regulatory framework in China and explore how we can work together. The expectation is not for a decision to be made, but to begin a conversation," said the email from Carey Bidtnes, Canada Royal Milk's human resources manager, who was part of the team that worked on bringing this investment to Canada during her previous employment with the Kingston Economic Development Corporation. 

Bidtnes said that Canada Royal Milk was working with Health Canada and the CFIA to "resolve a challenge" with exporting its formula.




Olymel investing $31.5 million in poultry plant

Olymel is investing $31.5 million to expand its poultry slaughtering and cutting plant in St-Damase, Montérégie, Quebec.

It will add 80 employees, bringing the total to about 500.

Olymel president and chief executive officer Rejean Nadeau said that “by acquiring the space and equipment needed to pre-package products directly at the plant, Olymel will be able to better serve clients who require large volumes of pre-packaged poultry products for their needs. 

“Olymel will thus bring operations that used to take place externally in-house, enabling it to reduce product handling and transportation time, and have better control over quality, order management and logistics.

"After the recent difficult months marked by the pandemic, it is also a sign of confidence in the future,” Nadeau said. 

Grain farmers continue to plead for help

Grain Farmers of Ontario has been joined by its counterparts in Atlantic Canada and Quebec to conduct a radio and internet advertising campaign about their plight and to plead for government help.

They are drawing attention to subsidies of more than $32 billion in the United States which create devastating competition for Canadian farmers who operate in the same markets.

Grain Farmers of Ontario has been asking for more government money for the AgriStability Business Risk Management Program.

“Grain and oilseed farmers are united, and we want the public to better understand that while President Trump is protecting his farmers, Canada may lose many of its farms because we can't compete. Down the road, Canada loses its ability to grow its own food, and that's a dangerous situation for all Canadians,” said Markus Haerle, chairman of Grain Farmers of Ontario. 

Warren Gear dead at 71

Warren Gear, an agronomist with the TD Bank and Rabobank and a breeder of horses, has died. He was 71.

He graduated in agricultural economics from the University of Guelph and stayed close to farming all his life.

He imported exotic breeds of cattle and he trained steeple chase horses at Pampadou, France.

He spent retirement breeding horses at his place in East Wawanosh, Huron County.

I was privileged to know him.

Monday, September 28, 2020

Canadian lumber industry wins, but loses

Canada’s softwood lumber industry won an appeal against United States tariffs, but has ended up losing the battle.

That’s because the U.S. has filed an appeal against the World Trade Organization’s ruling.

And because the U.S. has blocked the appointment of people to sit on panels that deal with appeals, the issue is sitting in limbo.

And meanwhile the U.S. continues to impose the illegal tariffs.

“These duties have caused unjustified harm to Canadian industry and U.S. consumers alike, and are impeding economic recovery on both sides of the border,” Canada’s trade minister Mary Ng said in a statement, adding Canada would keep challenging the duties through all available avenues.

The developments are a worrisome precedent for Canadian agriculture which has faced illegal pork and country-of-origin labeling issues with the United States.

Canada won those cases at the World Trade Organization, but not before multi-billion damage was inflicted on Canadian hog and cattle farmers and legal and consulting fees in the millions.

If the U.S. tries those illegal measures now, they could also end up in appeal limbo.

Americans buying more meat

Retail meat sales increased by 34 per cent during the pandemic, according to a new survey in the United States.

During the first week of the lockdown, retail sales doubled.

The survey and analysis were done by  the FMI –The Food Industry Association and the Foundation for Meat and Poultry Research and Education, the foundation of the North American Meat Institute.

Rick Stein, FMI vice president, said "we witnessed that consumers did not discriminate over the type of meat, as beef, chicken, pork, fresh, frozen, or processed were all loaded into shopping carts week after week.”

JBS recalling ground beef

JBS initiated a recall of its ground beef packaged as club packs and sold at the Provigo supermarket at Gatineau, Que.

The company identified E. coli 0157 in the product.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency Is investigating to determine whether additional recalls are necessary.

There have been no illnesses linked to the ground beef.

Saturday, September 26, 2020

Clair Lane Farm owner fined $25,000

Karley Sinclair of Clair Lane Farm near Fergus has been fined $25,000 for importing cattle semen without the required permit from the federal government.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency laid charges in connection with imports between Feb. 2017 and Feb. 2018.

The court also gave 1,553 straws of semen that the CFIA seized to the federal agriculture department to market.

The government dropped other charges, including trying to import an animal without a permit, that had been laid against Ms. Sinclair.

Clair Lane Stock Farm breeds and shows Angus cattle.

On its website, it used to say it was specializing in sourcing hard-to-find, rare and limited frozen genetics.


Friday, September 25, 2020

Sterile animals can be made fertile

Sterile male animals can have fertility restored, research at the Roslin Institute in Scotland has shown.

They have done it for cattle, pigs and goats by snipping out the fertility genes of healthy animals and inserting them into the DNA of sterile recipients.

One practical application would be sterilizing boars so they produce none of the substances that result in objectionable odours when their pork is cooked, then restoring fertility for the few that are kept as breeding stock.

More generally, the technique would enable farmers to insert the fertility genes – and their superior genetics – into lower-quality males. 

The Roslin Institute said this would benefit farmers in remote regions who don’t have access to superior genetics..

“Our study provides a powerful proof of concept. This shows the world that this technology is real and can be used. 

“We now have to go in and work out how best to use it productively to help feed our growing population,” Bruce Whitelaw, professor and Genus Personal Chair of Animal Biotechnology at the Roslin Institute said.

India slashes tariff on Canadian pulse crops

India has temporarily slashed its 33 per cent tariff to 11 per cent for Canadian pulse crops, meaning mainly lentils and peas.

India’s finance ministry had imposed higher tariffs on lentils in late 2017.

Cheap imports were “likely to adversely affect the interest of the farmers” following a productive growing season, the government said at the time.

Since then, food prices have soared during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The tariff reduction applies to all countries except the United States. It applies from Sept. 1 to Oct. 31 this year.

Thursday, September 24, 2020

Work resumes at Asta hog plant

All 450 workers at Aliments Asta, a pork slaughtering and processing plant east of Quebec City, have been cleared to return to work.

They were all tested for COVID-19 over the weekend because there have been cases in the community.

Health officials said the situation “remains precarious” for the family-owned plant.

Two New York meat fraudsters face 20 years in prison

Two New York men who labelled meat at higher grades have pleaded guilty to fraud and could be sentenced to up to 20 years in prison plus fines of $250,000 each.

Howard Mora, 68, and Alan Buxbaum, 66, used counterfeit United States Department of Agriculture stamps to sell misbranded lower-quality beef at inflated prices to consumers. 

They garnered hundreds of thousands of money through the fraud, according to the Attorney General Department for Eastern New York.

A. Stein Meat Products was featured in an episode of season two of the reality TV show “The Profit,” starring Marcus Lemonis. In April, 2015, A. Stein settled a lawsuit with Lemonis who said he paid them $190,000 to buy the trademarked brand Brooklyn Burger and never received anything in return. A. Stein claimed the money was a loan for working capital.

According to court documents, in October, 2014, A. Stein Meat had defaulted on all of its debt, and First Capital foreclosed on all of the company’s secured assets, including two Brooklyn Burger trademarks. First capital then sold them to Hercules Food Corp.

Only in New York, you think? Think again because in my reporting career, I have written about Canadians who stole government meat stamps to perpetrate fraud.

U.S. agri-business wants WTO membership

Sixty-three of the largest agri-business companies and associations are urging the United States to remain committed to the World Trade Organization.

U.S. President Donald Trump has been critical of the WTO and has said the U.S. ought to pull out.

He has effectively neutered its ability to settle disputes by blocking the appointment of adjudicators to sit on disputes-settling panels.

It means that complaints about violations of WTO trade terms can no longer be settled by appeals to the panels.

Canada has joined a large number of other countries who have set up their own disputes-settling system, but the U.S. is not one of them.

“U.S. membership in the WTO is essential to preserving the rules-based trading system that has paved the way for the significant growth observed in U.S. meat and poultry trade over the last few decades, with 2019 exports exceeding $19.4 billion,” said American Meat Institute president and chief executive officer Julie Anna Potts. “

To remain competitive globally, the U.S. meat and poultry industry depends on strong, enforceable trade agreements that embrace science-based, international standards set forth by the WTO, and other standard-setting organizations.”

It might help more if the 63 would refuse to contribute to the Trump campaign.

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

McCain got a jump on COVID-19

McCain Foods got a jump on COVID-19 because it had operations in China where the pandemic originated.

Beginning Jan. 2, it started telling employees who felt sick to stay home and it would pay their wages while they self quarantined.

Lessons learned there were applied to its world-wide operations which involve supplying a quarter of the world’s frozen french fries.

For example, canteens have barriers to keep employees separated.

They have to answer daily questionnaires, have their temperature checked and maintain social distancing.

About half of McCain’s sales are to restaurants, so it was immediately left with huge inventories and stopped buying from farmers.

“Our growers in Canada ended up having hundreds of millions of pounds of potatoes on their hands. Same in the U.S.; same in the whole of our operations. What are we going to do with that? Those are issues in the hundreds of millions, not the tens of millions,” Max Koeune, chief executive officer, told Report on Business magazine.

“In Canada, we donated 20 million pounds to the food banks. We’ve done the same in all the countries where we operate, at different scales,” he said.

Tractor death In Brant County

Donald Gunn, 75, of the Waterloo Region died recently when he slipped and fell under the wheels of a tractor he was trying to mount to stop it from rolling.

He was delivering soybeans to a grain dryer when the tractor hooked to a grain bin began to roll.

The accident happened near St. George, north of Brantford.

GFO alarmed by proposed regulations

Grain Farmers of Ontario is raising alarms about a proposed regulation that would make it harder for farmers to deliver corn if they have cleared any forest or wetland in the last 12 years.

It would also apply to land that is deemed important for biodiversity.

Markus Haerle, head of Grain Farmers of Ontario, said it could hit up to 90 per cent of the province’s farmers.

The government argues that converting land to crop production increases greenhouse gas emissions.

Farmers would apparently need certification to qualify to market corn into any channel that includes ethanol plants as customers.

The challenge increases because it would be difficult for farmers to segregate corn grown on converted land from the rest of their harvest, and it would likewise be difficult for grain handlers to segregate corn grown on converted land.



Tuesday, September 22, 2020

BinSaver gets $10 million boost

BinSaver has raised $10 million to expand its staff from 14 to about 45 in downtown Kitchener.

The company makes a device that measures the level of grain or feed in a bin and is proving popular with major grain companies and feed mills.

It is a major improvement over the traditional method of banging the sides of bins with a rubber mallet.

The device hooks over the top edge of a bin and with a laser similar to those used in modern cars and measures feed and grain levels as they go down.

It is powered by a solar panel and sends signals electronically to home base.

Feed mills find it excellent in helping them schedule deliveries, ensuring that customers never run out.

The BinSaver has been developed by Nathan Hoel and Randall Schwartzentruber.

They say another major announcement is coming, likely in October.

Lewis and Clark AgriFoods, a venture capital company based in St. Louis, led the round to raise $10 million. It features BinSaver on its website.

Chicken market still in flux

The Ontario chicken market continues to struggle to settle down after the COVID-19 lockdown in March.

The flow continues to change among supply chains, such as for fast-food chains and supermarkets.

As a result the national agency has taken a cautious approach and set production targets for quota period A-167 only half a per cent higher than a year ago.

That translates to 64,577,417 kilograms for Ontario and 187,118, 185 for the nation.

Quota period A-167 runs from the end of December to mid-February.

Monday, September 21, 2020

Food Surplus program a big bust

The $50-million federal government Food Rescue Program is a big bust.

First, it was too late in coming.

The supply-chain snafus occurred immediately after the lockdown in April, particularly food for restaurants, hotels, cafeterias and tourist destinations.

By the time it was announced, supply chains were already well on the way to adjusting to the new realities.

And then it took months before any purchasing was actually announced.

And it defies logic that one of the first announcements by federal Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau was at a Quebec egg-grading station.

Surely eggs are one of the easiest products to divert from one customer to another. Not so milk.

After eggs came a Bibeau announcement about fish at an indigenous community. Now there’s a high priority! Maybe it’s a priority for politics, but surely not for a national food surplus program.

And here we are in late September, and Bibeau has said it’s going to be “a couple of months” before the $50 million is spent.


Hemp growers may catch a break

Politicians made moves recently to extend pilot production of industrial hemp in the United States.

There is an end-of-October deadline to submit proposals for approval, but politicians in the House of Representatives have crafted wording to extend the deadline.

It will still need Senate approval. The House has a majority of Democrats, the Senate of Republicans and the two parties have seldom agreed on anything recently.

Farmers across the country have been able to legally grow hemp since the 2014 Farm bill was signed into law. 

That bill created a pilot program for hemp to be grown in states with plans that received Unites States Department of Agriculture (USDA) approval. 

After passage of the 2018 Farm Bill that removed hemp from the Controlled Substances Act, states had a deadline of October 31, 2020 to submit final plans to the USDA for approval as the pilot program was expiring. 

The global pandemic has presented obstacles for state departments of agriculture to finalize plans and submit them to the USDA for approval, prompting the hemp industry association to ask for an extension.

The wording for the extension is wrapped into a much more important bill to extend overall funding so existing government programs can continue.

It's a sneaky way to avoid a debate about growing marijuana.

Ex-premiers lobby Trudeau over ag exports to Europe

Five former premiers have written to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau asking him to take direct action to fix problems with the Canada-European Union trade deal that they say are thwarting Canadian agri-food sales to the 27-country market, reports the Globe and Mail.

Jean Charest, the former Quebec premier who helped kick-start negotiations that led to the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), a pact that entered into force three years ago in September, 2017,  is one of the five. 

They echoed concerns that have been repeatedly raised by industry groups such as the Canadian-Agrifood Trade Alliance (CAFTA)  and warn that EU countries are still imposing barriers to imports that frustrate Canadian shipments of pork, beef, canola and grains to the common market.

On the other hand, Europeans have complained that Canada’s system for handling cheese imports is frustrating them.

While overall trade has increased since the Canada-EU deal took effect, Canadian sales of farm goods and other agri-food to the EU have not flourished as expected, said the Globe and Mail.

The former premiers who were all in power when the deal was struck include Ongtario’s Kathleen Wynne , Saskatchewan’s Brad Wall, Manitoba’s Gary Doer and Alberta’s Ed Stelmach.

They said they were told CETA would be “transformative for Canada’s world-class agri-food sector, [which is] one of the largest drivers of job creation and economic growth across Canada.”

Instead, they say, the Canada-EU deal has been in place for three years and “has failed to deliver on its promises for Canadian agri-food exporters.”

They offered Italy as an example requiring labels on pasta describing the product’s country of origin, which “is unquestionably offside … both the EU’s CETA commitments and EU law.”



Quebec pork plant workers idled

Approximately 450 employees of Aliments Asta Inc., a pork packing plant in Quebec, have been ordered to stay home until COVID-19 test results are available in a few days.

There are been 12 COVID-19 cases in the Lower Saint Lawrence region where the family-owned plant is located.

The plant slaughters about 1,000 pigs per year and has customers in 50 countries.

U.S. clears atrazine

Atrazine, propazine and simazine are safe to use according to the United States Environmental Protection Agency.

EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler announced that there has been an interim decision granting approval for farmers to continue using them.

There are increased requirements for wearing protective equipment and labels will outline cautions about spray drift and herbicide resistance.

For home use, the EPA said atrazine and simazine rate limits will be reduced, the lawns will need to be watered immediately after they are sprayed and people will have to wear protective equipment.

“Today’s news provides much needed regulatory certainty for farmers during a time when few things are certain,” said Gary Marshall, chief executive officer for the Missouri Corn Growers Association. He is chairman of the Triazine Network which has been lobbying for continued approval to use the three herbicides.

There are 13 atrazine products approved for use in Canada.




Sunday, September 20, 2020

Forget the Supreme Court issue

The Democrats are making a huge mistake by criticizing Trump for wanting to fill the Supreme Court vacancy before the Nov. 3 election.

By fighting on that issue, they focus attention on the appointment and the abortion issue.

Their better election strategy would be to quickly approve whoever Trump nominates so it never becomes an election issue.

That way the focus can remain on Trump's track record and anything-but-Christian and anti-abortion personality.

Alfalfa sprouts sicken Ontarions


Sunsprout and Sprouts Alive greens are on recall because people have been sickened with Salmonella food poisoning.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency recently re-issued and updated the recalls by Natural Foods that began Aug. 11.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency said the Canada Public Health Agency is investigating, but there is nothing posted on its website.

I wonder whether those who buy alfalfa sprouts know that the seed is totally covered with deep crevices where bacteria are extremely difficult to dislodge and that sprouting involves warmth and moisture ideal for multiplying bacteria.

If you're not heating the sprouts to bacteria-killing temperatures, don't take the risk.

Food giants pushing Agolin in dairy rations

Food giants such as Nestle are pushing dairy farmers to add Agolin to their rations because it reduces greenhouse gas emissions.

It’s a blend of coriander, clove and carrot extracts.

Some dairy farmers, such as John Verway of California, think it may also increase milk production because less energy would be lost to belches. 

So far he hasn’t been able to determine the answer, according to a report by Reuters news agency.

“But Verwey figures he has positioned himself for a world where consumers care more about greenhouse gas emissions from livestock.”

Burger King is also running trials to determine how burger customers respond to beef from cattle fed Agolin rations.

Agolin could become a multi-billion product, says the Reuters report.

Frankly, I think the food giants would be better to direct their concerns to obesity and the increasing amount of sugar in the products they sell.

Alfalfa sprouts sicken Ontarions

Sunsprout and Sprouts Alive greens are on recall because people have been sickened with Salmonella food poisoning.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency recently re-issued and updated the recalls by Natural Foods that began Aug. 11.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency said the Canada Public Health Agency is investigating, but there is nothing posted on its website.


Saturday, September 19, 2020

Pigs don’t pass COVID-19

Pigs do not pass on COVID-19 according to research at Kansas State University designed to test similar results in Germany and China.

Dr. Jeurgen Richt wanted to learn if pigs react similar to cats which can be infected.

He infected nine pigs that were five to six weeks old - intranasally, orally and intratracheally – and at levels 10 times higher than previous studies to make it a strong challenge.

None of the pigs tested positive for COVID-19 at the end of the trial period.

His team was, however, able to infect pig cells cultured in the lab.

Richt remains cautious because the pigs in his study were relatively young and involved the current COVID-19.

He said results could be different for mature sows and boars and if COVID-19 mutates.

Foodgrains Bank helping small-scale African farmers

The Canadian Foodgrains Bank has been granted $2.3 million by the  federal government for its projects to help African communities hit hard by COVID-19.

“The small-scale farmers we work with in developing countries have been significantly impacted by COVID-19 prevention methods,” said outgoing Foodgrains Bank executive director Jim Cornelius in a news release.

“Drastic efforts to reduce the spread of the coronavirus have disrupted livelihoods, farm production and food supply chains,” he said. 

“For small-scale farmers who rely on the crops they grow for food and income these disruptions can mean the difference between having food on their plates or not.”


The Foodgrains Bank is putting in about $700,000 to bring the total to about $3 million.

The new grant will go towards projects in Zimbabwe, Ethiopia, Uganda, Democratic Republic of the Congo and Kenya starting this year and going into 2021.

Projects will focus on providing agricultural support to help farmers increase yields, supporting community savings and loans programs so farmers can buy seeds and inputs, and assisting farmers to get crops to market.



Guelph team makes semi-finals

Two academics from the University of Guelph have made it to the semi-finals in a global competition for a $2 million Food System Vision Prize.

Their idea calls for changing agriculture across Southwestern Ontario to shift from heavy reliance on large-scale corn, soybean and wheat production to more small-scale and diverse crop production using less commercial fertilizer and pesticides.

They envision “truly integrative agricultural practices” by 2050, including sharing of land use to increase biodiversity and stronger governmental supports for small-scale agricultural enterprises.

PhD student René Sahba Shahmohamadloo and Prof.Paul Sibley of the Environmental Sciences Department worked with the university’s Arrell Food Institute, the Ecological Farmers Association of Ontario, the Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association, the Alternative Land Use Systems (ALUS) organization for Canada, the municipally supported Guelph-Wellington Our Food Future Initiative, the University of Windsor’s Great Lakes Institute for Environmental Research, and the Grey Bruce Centre for Agroecology.

If they make it to the finals, they will get $200,000 which they intend to use first to organize a series of workshops for all levels of the province’s agri-food sector, to brainstorm the 2050 vision.

While their work focuses on Southwestern Ontario, they think it would have broad application across North America.

It is refreshing to see this pair working so hard on concepts that have no funding from large corporations. Instead of profit, they are motivated by improving the environment and communities.

Friday, September 18, 2020

Trump adds $14 billion to COVID-19 support

United States President Donald Trump has bumped up COVID-19 subsidies for farmers by $14 billion.

That’s in addition to $19 billion promised April 27.

It leaves Canadian farmers even further behind in the competition to retain North American markets and their farms.

So far Canadian support has been limited mainly to increases in AgriStability which many have said it not nearly enough.

Trump’s announcement comes as he’s trying hard to retain support in the upcoming Nov. 3 election in states, such as Iowa, with a lot of farmers.

Presidential elections are tallied by winners in each state, not by the overall national vote.

In polling by the Farm Journal, Trump has about 80 per cent support among farmers.

U.S. dairy consumption rising – slowly

Dairy consumption in the United States increased by 1.5 per cent last year.

Fluid milk and yogourt consumption were down, butter and cheese are up and ice cream is steady.

The onset of COVID-19 lockdown sent fluid milk sales soaring in March, but was back down in April.

“The very rapid change from food service to retail buying has significantly skewed year-to-date dairy data for 2020,” said  John Guess of DairyBusiness.

The long-term trends are for fluid milk consumption to decline and cheese to increase, he said. Together they account for about half of the milk marketed in the U.S.

Michael Dykes, president and chief executive officer of the International Dairy Foods Association, said the long-term trend is to increased milk consumption.

“Since the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) began tracking per capita dairy consumption in the 1970s, the trend has continued upward for five straight decades, increasing 21 per cent since 1975,” he said.

Canada abandons trade talks with China

Canada has ended plans to open trade talks with China, citing China’s “assertive, coercive diplomacy.”

Foreign Affairs Minister François-Philippe Champagne said  “I don’t see the conditions being present now for these discussions to continue at this time.

“The China of 2020 is not the China of 2016.”

“All the initiatives and the policies that had been put in place at the time – all that needs to be reviewed,” he said, adding: “We’re looking at all of them with the lens of China of 2020.”

China Is holding two Canadians in prison in apparent answer to Canada’s arrest of Ment Wanzhou, chief financial officer for Huawei telecommunications company.

She was arrested in response to an extradition order from the United States. The court is British Columbia is still far from reaching a decision on the case.

Other Chinese actions that have given nations pause are its creation of islands in the China Sea where it has built military installations and its tightening of its grip on Hong Kong.