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Promoting Canadian ag in Asia

Promoting Canadian ag in Asia

Canola should overtake soy in that part of the world, Saskatchewan’s trade minister said

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer

Canada’s federal trade minister and some of his provincial counterparts returned on Monday from a trade mission promoting Canadian ag in Japan, South Korea and Turkey.

The Canadian delegation met with agri-food representatives from the three host countries to discuss using more Canadian ag products in local markets.

“We can see that our trade agreement with South Korea and our new agreement with Asia and Pacific countries, including Japan, are creating new opportunities for Canadian producers and businesses looking to diversify into new markets so they can grow and create jobs for the middle class,” Jim Carr, Canada’s federal trade minister, said in a statement on Tuesday.

A significant opportunity could exist with canola.

Japan’s imports of Canadian canola oil totaled $16.1 billion in 2018, the Canola Council of Canada says.

That number could increase with the right strategy, said Jeremy Harrison, Saskatchewan’s minister of trade and export development. Harrison and Alberta’s Minister of Trade Tanya Fir accompanied Carr on the trade mission.

“I think, over the next year, you will see more canola seed an oil sold into Japan and South Korea,” Harrison told reporters yesterday, Global News reported. “We think we have a huge opportunity in these markets because of the free trade agreements we have in place.”

Indonesia and Vietnam could also provide opportunities for Canadian canola.

Market diversification is crucial given the uncertainty surrounding China, Harrison said.

“There would have to be a very, very large increase to make up for the Chinese market,” he said. “It’s not a one or two market answer on this.”

Tanya Fir, Alberta's trade minister, agrees.

"We need to expand our access to other Asian markets to ensure that Alberta's agricultural products are known around the world as safe, reliable, and of the highest quality," Justin Brattinga, press secretary for Minister Fir, told in an email.

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