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Alta. ag minister weighs in on China

Alta. ag minister weighs in on China

The federal government must find a resolution, Devin Dreeshen said

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer
Farms.com

The Chinese government’s decision to suspend imports of Canadian pork is troubling, Alberta’s newly appointed ag minister said.

China started blocking pork imports originating from Olymel LP and Drummond Export on Wednesday because of incorrect labeling.

Canada must regain full access to the Chinese market, said Devin Dreeshen.

“Market access is a critical issue for Alberta’s farmers and ranchers, and we are standing with them to ensure they continue to have access to the support programs we need,” he said in his first official statement since receiving Premier Jason Kenney’s recommendation to serve as ag minister.

The provincial government will “stand up for Alberta” and build “more demand for Alberta’s high-quality products,” Dreeshen added. And Ottawa must do more to find resolutions to the market access issues facing pork and canola.

So far, Canadian hog prices haven’t taken a hit because of China’s decision.

“If China had suspended pork imports from the U.S., then it would’ve had a price impact on us here,” Will Kingma, chairman of the Western Hog Exchange, told Farms.com. “It’s part of the reason we’re trying to develop a system that makes sense for Canada. Because what happens on Canadian farms isn’t affecting the price Canadian farmers get.”

The federal government is leaning on the U.S. for support in managing the issues with China.

Canada has reached out to U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Republican Sen. Jim Risch, chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, CBC reported.

The response, however, hasn’t been completely positive.

“It’s a very challenging situation. When we raise it with the Americans they just say, ‘Dealing with the Chinese is tough,’” a Canadian government source told CBC.

Farms.com has reached out to the Canadian Pork Council for an update on the situation with China.

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