Canadian farmers and exporters have been frustrated by a year-long major trade disruption with one of Canada’s largest canola markets — China.
It is a continuously evolving situation, says Jim Everson, president of the Canola Council of Canada (CCC). “There is still a blockage in terms of seed shipments from the two largest exporters — Viterra and Richardson — so our goal is to return to a predictable market, and that includes making sure both of those companies, as well as our other exporters, are able to ship to China,” Everson says, adding that there are some changes as far as Canada’s shipments to China go.
“Our per-month tonnage is up a little bit, so I would say that we are, on average, shipping about 30 per cent of what we would’ve been shipping last year to China, so that’s good news for the Canadian farmer. But clearly, this is not going to return until we have a good agreement between Canada and China, and we have the permits returned to those companies.” (Story continues below interview)
China works mostly at an official state-to-state level, says Everson, so it’s even more imperative that our government works on resolving this major “roadblock,” so to speak.
“Most of the discussions need to take place between the Government of Canada and the Government of China,” Everson says .”So the government of Canada has a technical discussion going over technical issues with Chinese officials. Ministers have been able to meet with their counterparts to some extent, to talk about the overall issues — not just canola, but other issues in the Canada-China relationship.”
A lot of efforts are being made in this area, he says, adding that last fall’s federal election did delay things somewhat. “We have new ministers, and we’re working on contacting them and talking about our issues so we can move forward with it,” he says.