OTTAWA, ONTARIO, CANADA — During its first meeting April 4, Canada’s working group on canola discussed the importance of a science-based solution to export issues with China.

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 the Canola Council of Canada, the working group membership includes the president of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, the president of the Canadian Canola Growers Association, deputy ministers from the provinces of Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba as well as other senior government and industry officials.

The group was formed in response to China removing the registration for two Canadian canola exporters, Richardson International and Viterra, and its increasing scrutiny of other canola seed imports. China has said it revoked the registrations because of pest concerns.

China is a top destination for Canadian canola, accounting for about 40% of its exports of that commodity.

The working group will continue to meet regularly to closely monitor the situation and collaborate to resolve this issue.

In addition to the working group, Canadian officials want in-depth technical meetings with Chinese officials and have proposed sending a delegation of Canadian plant health experts to China.

“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,” said Jim Everson, president of the CCC. “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.”

Canada is the No. 1 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, the group said. As Canada’s largest crop, canola accounts for approximately $11 billion of the country's exports each year.