China announced that it is extending access for Canadian canola seed imports for one year under current restrictions.
“This is very good news and it shows that China values its canola trade relationship with Canada,” said Canola Council of Canada president JoAnne Buth. “The extension will allow Canadian farmers some access to China for the 2010 crop. This development is the result of persistent efforts in China by the Government of Canada and our industry.”
In November 2009, the Chinese government imposed a quarantine order to block the importation of Canadian canola seed testing positive for the presence of blackleg, a fungal disease that can reduce yields.
For the marketing of the 2009 crop, China implemented a transition year in which blackleg affected Canadian canola can be delivered to a limited number of facilities in locations where Chinese canola is not grown. This limitation is meant to reduce the chances of blackleg being transferred into domestic crops.
The one-year extension means deliveries can continue to these ports.
Buth thanked Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz for the federal government’s efforts to raise the issue with China.
However, she said talks with China must continue.
“While the extension keeps the door slightly open to China, it doesn’t open it any wider,” said Buth.
“We still have only very limited access, so we will continue to work with China to address their blackleg concerns and to restore full trade.”
Canada is undertaking cooperative studies with China to analyze ways to mitigate the transfer of blackleg to China’s crop and to undertake dairy feed trials to increase the value of canola meal in China.
In 2008-2009, China was Canada’s largest canola seed market, importing 2.8 million tonnes.
Under current restrictions, Canada’s access is limited to about 1.5 million tonnes annually.