Minister of International Trade Diversification Jim Carr has put out a statement in regards to the government’s talks with China over blocked canola exports.
Earlier this year, China revoked the export license of a major Canadian canola company citing various pests were found in the product. Later, a second company was hit with the same ban.
Carr says that although Canada continues to be in talks with China, “In order to make progress, Canada is seeking bilateral consultations at the WTO, which is the usual next step when direct engagement does not lead to resolution.”
Both he and the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-food Marie-Claude Bibeau take the file very seriously, he says, and they know it’s been a difficult time for farmers.
“We stand by our robust food inspection system and will continue to keep farmers, producers and other stakeholders informed of our progress,” he says.
Carr says the pair took their concerns to the WTO General Council in May.
The news comes just two days after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau named the new Ambassador to China.
Commodity groups applaud the move, Wheat sector calls for same action over Italy mCOOL
The Canadian Canola Growers Association (CCGA), Cereals Canada and the Alberta Wheat Commission (AWC) all support the move by the federal government. However, there’s some disappointment from all three organizations on two separate issues.
First off, the CCGA says they wish it didn’t have to come to a WTO consultaion and that if so, it should of happened at an earlier time.
“We are disappointed that efforts to date have not led to a resolution,” says Rick White, Chief Executive Officer of CCGA. “We hope that formal consultations will result in a mutual agreement based on science, so that canola trade can resume with predictability.”
On the other hand, both Cereals Canada and the AWC are hoping the government will take similar action towards Italy to resolve the loss of the durum market which has caused major impacts on grain farmers.
“Italy was once the largest market for Canadian durum, the wheat used to make pasta,” says Cam Dahl, president of Cereals Canada. “Since mCOOL has been brought in Canadian farmers have lost sixty percent of this market. We urge the Government of Canada to stand up against and use all available tools to challenge the Italian regulations that effectively discriminate against Canadian products.”
“As a durum grower in the southern dryland region of Alberta, this high-value crop has been a staple where moisture concerns limit yield potential for other types of wheat,” says Gary Stanford, AWC Chair. “We fully support and commend the action being taken to resolve China’s ban on canola, but we have lost the majority of the Italian durum market for nearly two years – despite the CETA agreement being in place – resulting in a serious blow to our farm margins.”
According to a news release from the AWC, through our membership in Cereals Canada and the Grain Growers of Canada, AWC has pressed for a WTO challenge to be opened against Italy for nearly two years in response to the devastating loss of this market.