Ottawa demands China provide evidence Canadian canola is contaminated

Canada has used a major World Trade Organization gathering to demand that China deliver evidence proving Canadian canola is contaminated.

Stephen de Boer is the Canadian ambassador to the world's leading trade body in Geneva.

He told the WTO's general council that Canada wants to meet in China in good faith.

He says Canada wants to hear China's science-based concerns that recent Canadian canola shipments were, in fact, tainted.

De Boer's statement is an attempt to push China, which has stonewalled requests for Canadian experts to travel to the People's Republic to examine Chinese evidence on the canola.

The government says two separate inspections by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency have turned up nothing, while several cabinet ministers have said China's complaint is not science-based.

China's decision to bar Canadian food products follows the RCMP's December arrest in Vancouver of Huawei  Technologies executive Meng Wanzhou on a US warrant alleging fraud.

A senior government official acknowledges de Boer's statement is not the formal complaint that Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer has urged the government to launch.

But the official says it represents the first formal opportunity to draw attention to the issue in front of a major meeting of the WTO.

China places great importance on being a member in good standing of the WTO, especially as it tries to displace the United States as a global trade leader.