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Sask. trade minister: canola resolution needed

Sask. trade minister: canola resolution needed

The Chinese market is “vitally important” for canola farmers, Jeremy Harrison said

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer
Farms.com

Saskatchewan’s provincial trade minister has outlined the severity of the canola trade situation with China to his federal counterpart.

Regaining full access to the Chinese market is imperative for the province’s canola farmers, said Jeremy Harrison.

China is “our largest export market for canola, not just by a little bit – by orders of magnitude,” he said Tuesday, the Regina Leader-Post reported. “That’s why it needs to be elevated to the level of a very significant national effort.

“I underlined to (federal trade) Minister (Jim) Carr that (the federal government) need to make a decision immediately.”

Saskatchewan growers exported about $1.4 billion of canola products to China in 2017. Since March 6, 2019, however, China has suspended imports of canola products from three Canadian grain handlers.

The federal government is waiting for Chinese ag officials to respond to Marie-Claude Bibeau, Canada’s agriculture minister.

Bibeau sent a letter to China on April 1 asking that scientists meet to resolve the trade issue, Carr said.

“We await that response and we will continue to work together with provincial governments and with the industry to get to a resolution as fast as we can,” he told reporters Monday.

The federal government has also set up a working group of government and industry representatives to find solutions to the Chinese trade issue.

Canola industry reps from other provinces are also keeping an eye on the trade situation.

It hasn’t happened yet, but producers could switch from canola to another crop, said Simon Ellis, owner of Ellis Seeds in Wawanesa, Man.

“We haven’t seen anyone switch away from canola acres yet,” he told PortageOnline. “There’s certainly been some questions as to what other options there are out there, but nobody’s actually pulled the trigger yet. I think there’s some optimism that the trade disputes or the challenges going forward will get resolved.”

Farms.com has reached out to members of the canola industry for comment.

Jeremy Harrison/Twitter photo

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