OTTAWA, ONTARIO, CANADA — As days have turned into weeks and the Industry-Government Canola Working Group has not yet been accepted by China, the Canola Council of Canada (CCC) is calling on the Canadian Government to consider all available options to resume seed trade.

“Trade must be based on science and commitments to trade rules must be respected,” said Jim Everson, president of the CCC.

Since market access issues affecting canola seed trade started in early March, Chinese buyers remain unwilling to purchase Canadian canola seed and the licenses of two companies, Richardson and Viterra, to export canola seed to China have been suspended.

“China has every right to take action related to plant health for products entering their country, but they also have an obligation to explain the scientific basis for their actions,” Everson said. “So far, we’ve seen little sign that China wants to engage in a science-based discussion, and therefore we need the government of Canada to consider all available options.”

According to the CCC, technical discussions have taken place between the Chinese and Canadian governments, progress depends on an in-person meeting that has yet to occur.

“As time ticks by, uncertainty is growing and income that drives our economy is being lost,” Everson said. “These are extraordinary circumstances that will require significant extra effort to resolve.”

  • The CCC recommends the Canadian government undertake the following intensified efforts:
  • Appoint an ambassador to China at the earliest opportunity to assist Canada’s diplomats in their ongoing work at our embassy in Beijing;
  • Support producers through this uncertain time by taking action as recommended by grower organizations; and
  • Review all diplomatic, technical and legal tools to engage Chinese officials in resuming trade.

“China is a valued market for Canadian canola and Canada’s canola sector is committed to a predictable and mutually rewarding trading relationship, based on quality and on science,” Everson said. “We urge Canadian and Chinese officials to engage genuinely to resolve this dispute as quickly as possible.”

The CCC said it will continue to lead collaboration on resuming trade as part of the working group.

According to the CCC, China has indicated they have a concern with Canadian canola seed shipments, though it is unclear how they arrived at this conclusion.

China is a top destination for Canadian canola, accounting for about 40% of its exports of that commodity. Total value of canola exports to China is estimated at C$4.4 billion, the CCC noted.

The CCC is a full value chain organization representing canola growers, processors, life science companies and exporters.