Prime Minister Justin Trudeau last visited Winnipeg, Man., about a month ago for a funding announcement. According to his updated itinerary, he’ll be returning to the River City this week alongside Minister of International Trade Diversification, Jim Carr to meet with CEO and president of Richardson International, Curt Vossen.
The meeting comes five days after the Canola Council of Canada (CCC) announced China had stopped all new canola seed sales. Richardson International — one of the largest exporters of the Canadian product — had its export permit revoked by China earlier this month. The restriction came after what Chinese officials called ‘hazardous pests’ were found in recent shipments.
The ‘hazardous pests’ have not been officially named, as the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has remained tight-lipped on the subject.
Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau confirmed to RealAgriculture on Monday that the CFIA inspected the canola seed shipments, using appropriate procedures and analysis, prior to export to China. The agency was confident the certified shipments met foreign import requirements, as is Richardson International.
She also added a discussion took place last week between plant health experts from Customs China and the CFIA where the pair exchanged some initial technical information.
“Officials from both countries will continue to engage in order to find a science-based solution to this issue as quickly as possible,” Bibeau says.
China’s imports account for roughly 40 per cent of all Canadian exports of canola seed, oil, and meal. That being said, canola seed remains the only commodity affected by the import ban. Bibeau says she is unaware of the ban having an effect on other commodities Canada produces at this time and will be closely monitoring the situation.
This story will be updated as more information becomes available.