China’s Premier Li Keqiang and Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that Canadian canola can continue to be exported to China under the current regulatory regime while officials work to finalize a long-term solution to blackleg concerns.
“This is a significant step toward resolution of this long-standing issue,” says Patti Miller, president of the Canola Council of Canada.
This announcement is a turning point that enables government officials to quickly conclude their discussions. The Canola Council has been supporting technical discussions on the ground in Beijing.
“Canadian and Chinese officials have worked diligently on finding a science-based approach to blackleg risk that will be both practical and effective,” Miller says. “We encourage both governments to rapidly conclude a science-based agreement that will provide long-term stability.”
In 2009, canola exports to China were stopped as a result of concerns over transmission of blackleg to the Chinese rapeseed crop. Exports resumed to designated ports in China with an agreement to conduct joint research to better understand the disease and how risk of transmission could be mitigated.
During the past six years, the Canadian canola industry has invested millions of dollars in blackleg research. As a result, research has shown that reducing the incidence of blackleg in Canada will benefit both countries.
Canola seed exports to China have been the single most valuable export from Canada to China during the past five years. In 2015, Canada exported 3.8 million tonnes of canola seed to China, worth $2 billion – accounting for 40 per cent of Canada’s canola seed exports.