On Wednesday’s RealAg Radio, Kelsey Johnson, with iPolitics, joined show host Shaun Haney to recap what she saw and heard at both the house ag committee and trade committee meetings held Tuesday, April 2.
At the ag committee meeting, Johnson says attendees heard from Viterra, Richardson International, and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), whereas the trade committee heard from agriculture minister Marie-Claude Bibeau and trade minister Jim Carr, plus senior officials from CFIA.
While Haney and many farmers may be itching to get things moving, Johnson says that it was very clear by Minister Carr that Canada is not looking to escalate things with China, instead the trade committee was very much focused on the questions around the science and technical aspects of the “hazardous pests” in grain shipments as identified by Chinese officials.
As of now, there doesn’t seem to be any list of retaliatory products or a World Trade Organization challenge in the works.
Citing privacy, officials won’t name the third company that was told by China that they were in non-compliance in January, but Johnson notes that the non-compliance notice has not escalated and the company’s export license was not revoked.
Johnson says the day-long meetings did offer up quite a bit of information. We now have a concrete timeline of CFIA letters sent, calls held, notifications issued by the Chinese, and processes since Richardson’s export license was revoked, Johnson says. We also have Carr and Bibeau on record at committee, she says. Farmers and industry also got a full list of who is on the issue, notably assistant deputy minister for Global Affairs and chief NAFTA negotiator Steve Verheul, which Johnson says shows that this is a top priority for this government.
The newly announced working group meets later this week, on Thursday, April 4.
Hear the entire conversations between Johnson and Haney below: