China has once again delayed the start of tighter dockage requirements for Canadian canola imports. For now.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made the announcement to Canadian media covering his trip in Beijing late Tuesday.
“This is a significant step towards resolution of this long-standing issue,” said Patti Miller, president of the Canola Council of Canada, in a statement early Wednesday. “We sincerely appreciate the Government of Canada’s efforts to achieve a science-based solution.”
The Chinese government was planning to implement a 1 percent dockage limit on Canadian canola starting Thursday — a standard which would increase costs for Canadian exporters and was described as unjustified and unscientific by the Canadian canola industry.
The council has been supporting Canadian officials in the technical discussions on the ground in Beijing.
“Canadian and Chinese officials have worked diligently on finding a science-based approach to blackleg risk that will be both practical and effective,” she noted. “With today’s announcement, we encourage both governments to rapidly conclude a science-based agreement that will provide long-term stability.”
The Canadian Press quoted Trudeau saying “We’re happy to reassure Canadian farmers that (at) the September 1 deadline we will be able to continue with the current regime of canola and we (will) work together very closely towards a long-term solution in the coming days and weeks ahead.”
“We applaud the efforts of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Trade Minister Chrystia Freeland and Agriculture Minister Lawrence MacAulay,” said Miller. “Their timely interventions mean that a science-based solution is in sight and that Canada’s most valuable export to China can continue.”
This is not the first time China has delayed the tighter dockage requirement. In February, the Chinese indicated a new standard allowing no more than 1 percent foreign material would be implemented on April 1. However, the deadline was extended to September 1.
China also stopped Canadian canola imports in 2009 over concerns about blackleg transmission to the Chinese rapeseed crop.
It’s not yet clear how long the new extension will last.
More to come.