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Saudi Arabia Halts Canadian Wheat and Barley Purchases

Saudi Arabia announced on August 7 that its state wheat buyer, SAGO had stopped buying Canadian wheat and barley through its international tenders as a diplomatic dispute between the two countries intensifies.

Saudi Arabia also recently expelled the Canadian ambassador in response to Canada calling for the release of civil rights activists, and has announced it will also begin selling off its assets in Canada, while also suspending all flights between the two countries.

In 2016 Saudi Arabia began phasing out domestic wheat production as part of a water conservation program, making the kingdom more dependent on imports. In 2017 Canada exported 66,000 tons of wheat and 132,000 tons of barley to the country.

In recent years Saudi Arabia and Canada were closely tied in the grains industry, with Saudi Agricultural and Livestock Investment Company (SALIC) being one of the buyers of the Canadian Wheat Board in 2015 for $250 million.

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