The prime minister takes the situation seriously, Saskatchewan’s premier said
By Diego Flammini
Saskatchewan’s premier spoke with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau yesterday about resolving a crucial ag trade issue.
Premier Moe brought up three specific issues related to China’s decision to suspend Canadian canola imports.
“We had a good conversation on continuing with the scientific engagement, supportive of moving that into the diplomatic and even political engagement, not just with China but also with the U.S., and last but not least, putting forward suggestions to ensure that our producers have access to capital come this spring,” Moe said, the Regina Leader-Post reported.
On March 6, China suspended canola imports from Richardson International citing “dangerous pests,” a Chinese official said.
Yesterday, China announced it suspended imports from Viterra Inc. because of “several hazardous organisms” discovered in canola shipments, The Associated Press reported.
China’s actions on Canadian canola could be related to Canada’s involvement in the arrest of Meng Wanzhou, the chief operating officer of Huawei Technologies, on Dec. 1.
Premier Moe’s decision to call the Prime Minister shows how serious the situation is, said Charlene Bradley, a canola producer from Stranraer, Sask. and vice-chair of the Saskatchewan Canola Development Commission.
“I’m glad to see these kinds of exchanges taking place because it demonstrates the severity of the situation,” she told Farms.com. “When you have one of our largest export nations refusing to accept canola seed, it creates a lot of uncertainty for all us producers.”
China is, by far, Canada’s largest customer for canola seed.
Canada exports about 3.9 million tonnes (4,299,014 tons) of seed annually, the Canola Council of Canada says. The next-largest customer is the United States which imports about 631 thousand tonnes (695,558 tons) of canola seed.
Regaining full market access to China is a top priority, Bradley said.
“Market diversification is very important and that’s something to look at in the future,” she said. “But the priority at this point is to try to work with China the best we can to get this situation resolved and have Canadian canola heading to China.”
Federal representatives may soon be on their way to China.
Canada may send a “high-level delegation to China to talk about the extraordinary work we do in terms of oversight inspection and the science around ensuring the safety and quality” of Canadian canola, Trudeau said yesterday, CBC reported.