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Saskatchewan ag minister glad about China dropping canola ban

Saskatchewan’s agriculture minister is happy two big grain companies finally have the option to ship canola to China.

The ban on imports from Viterra and Richardson (JRI) was lifted Wednesday.

“It’s very good news for us,” Agriculture Minister David Marit told reporters at the Legislature on Thursday. “Viterra and JRI were probably the two biggest Canadian importers into China.

“We did have other companies in Saskatchewan that were still shipping canola to China, but it’s great news to see that Viterra and JRI are back…It’s good news for the farmers, good news for the province and good news for the industry.”

Marit believes those two companies do a lot of good work in Saskatchewan, adding that he likes to see them have more options on a global scale.

“They struggled when it was first announced because they had to divert shipments and things like that,” he said.

“But both companies seemed to work through that process, It still took time, but the process did work.”

He pointed to two canola crush plants, one from each company, with Viterra’s project in Regina and JRI’s in Yorkton.

“Those crush plants will be up and running in 2024, 2025, somewhere in there I’m assuming, and then they’ll start crushing there too. This still does give them the interim opportunity to export to China,” Marit said.

He said the province worked with the federal government and the World Trade Organization (WTO) to try and get this ban reversed.

“(We’d) say look, this was unfair trading obviously because other companies within western Canada were still exporting to China. So, we felt it was just a target against Viterra and JRI that was unfair,” he said.

So, why does he think China is flipping back on the ban?

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