Viterra becomes second business to face canola export ban to China


Effective immediately, China’s General Administration of Customs has banned Viterra’s shipments of canola to the Asian country.

This announcement by China comes just days after the Canola Council of Canada (CCC) stated, “Chinese importers refuse to purchase any canola seed from Canada at this time.”

A spokesperson at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada stated to RealAgriculture this morning that, “we are aware that another canola company has been impacted.  Officials are working to get more details.”

RealAgriculture also spoke to a senior executive close to the matter who confirmed, “It’s true that Viterra has had its export license suspended due to the same hazardous pests.”

Similar to the decision on Richardsons’ export license, the alleged contamination is due to “hazardous pests.” According to the release, those pests are stated by Chinese customs as:

  • Leptosphaeria maculans;
  • Pseudomonas syringae pv. maculicola;
  • False Xanthium;
  • Iva xanthifolia;
  • French wild oats (Avena ludoviciana);
  • Amaranthus tuberculatus; and,
  • other quarantine pests.

The custom site also says it will continue to, “strengthen the import Canadian canola seed quarantine and laboratory testing and identification, and timely report the relevant situation to the General Administration of Customs.”

Recently while in Saskatoon, International Trade Diversification Minister Jim Carr stated: “We are pressing Chinese officials to show us samples of the canola that would indicate there’s a problem, so far that has not materialized.”

Viterra responds

In a statement sent to RealAgriculture, Viterra’s company spokesperson wrote:

“We can confirm that China has expanded its ban on Canadian canola imports to include shipments from Viterra.  We are working closely with the federal government and the Canola Council of Canada to gather more information on the situation. All of our export products are tested to ensure they meet specific import standards. We take quality concerns seriously and support a sound, science based approach in the testing of our exports. Market access issues such as this one hurt our industry and Canadian farmers. We are hopeful for a quick resolution to this matter.”

Globally, Viterra has grain elevators, port terminals, and processing facilities that ship agricultural commodities to over fifty countries.

Agriculture and Agri-food Minister, Marie-Claude Bibeau tells RealAgriculture she continues to take this issue very seriously and remains to work hard to resolve the trade disruption.

“We are working through all available channels in China and here in Canada to find a science-based solution,” she wrote, adding the government stands by its robust inspection system.

She says Canadian and Chinese officials are actively engaging and will continue to exchange technical information in an effort to resolve this issue.

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