April 8, 2019 – Ottawa, Ontario – Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
The Government of Canada working group on canola held its inaugural meeting to work together to resolve the market access issue affecting Canada’s canola seed exports to China.
At the first meeting of the working group on April 4, 2019, representatives discussed the importance of focusing on a science-based solution to resolve this issue. The group also touched on future opportunities to expand into new markets for canola, and reviewed support available to affected producers.
Co-chaired by the deputy minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and the president of Canola Council of Canada, the working group membership includes the president of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, the president the Canadian Canola Growers Association, deputy ministers from the provinces of Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba as well as other senior government and industry officials.
Canada is the number-one producer and exporter of canola in the world. Canadian canola has an international reputation as being of the highest quality, while its inspection system is known as being robust and world-class. As Canada’s largest crop, canola accounts for approximately $11 billion of the country’s exports each year.
In addition to creating the working group, the federal government also recently called for in-depth technical meetings with Chinese officials, proposing to send a delegation of Canadian plant health experts to China – led by the President of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency – to meet face-to-face with their counterparts in order to identify a science-based solution to this issue as quickly as possible.
The working group will continue to meet regularly to closely monitor the situation and collaborate to resolve this issue.
“Canada’s farmers can rest assured that we understand the importance and the urgency of this issue, and that we stand with them and are working hard to secure unrestricted market access for Canada’s high-quality canola. The newly formed working group brings together the canola industry and producers to work together to resolve this issue.”
– Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food
“Canadians right across the country understand the importance of canola farming families to our economy – particularly those of us who come from the Prairies. I’m glad that the important efforts of this working group are moving ahead, and we will continue to stand with Canadian farmers and to work alongside them until these issues are resolved.”
– Jim Carr, Minister of International Trade Diversification
“It is imperative that we find a science-based solution to this issue and we look forward to getting a response from Chinese authorities regarding the proposed Canadian delegation. Resuming canola seed exports with China is the canola industry’s top priority. It is essential for our farmers and their families, and for our entire agricultural industry.”
– Jim Everson, President, Canola Council of Canada
The Government of Canada remains focused on trade and has set an ambitious target to grow our agriculture and food exports to $75 billion by 2025.
As was announced earlier, the group was created after China suspended the licences of two Canadian companies to export their canola seed to China, citing non-compliance with their plant health requirements. At the same time, China strengthened their inspection measures on all Canadian canola seed shipments.
Canada’s canola industry contributes almost $27 billion dollars annually to the country’s economy, and in 2018, Canada exported over $11 billion in canola products to over 50 markets.
The newly implemented Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) and the Canada-European Union Comprehensive and Economic Trade Agreement (CETA) are creating significant export opportunities for Canadians, with the CPTPP alone expected to result in $780 million in new canola exports per year.