Discussions between Canadian and Chinese officials continue over Canadian canola exports, and it appears those talks have yielded some progress.
Wednesday morning Prime Minister Trudeau announced China has granted an extension to the September 1 deadline originally announced earlier this year. During that extension, canola exports will fall under the current rules of 2.5 per cent dockage. China had stated as of September 1 the new rules would set a maximum of one per cent dockage in Canadian canola exports.
Dockage is the amount of foreign material, like pieces of stems and leaves, that can be found in a shipment. China wants Canada to reduce the level of dockage in its shipments by half over due to concerns about blackleg disease.
In lieu of the extension, International Trade Minister Chrystia Freeland announced Canadian and Chinese negotiators have also agreed to work on a long-term agreement regarding canola exports. Her hope is that deal could be reached in the next few days or coming weeks.
Brian Innes is the vice president of government relations for the Canola Council of Canada, and he says this an important issue to work out, as China represents about 40 per cent of Canadian canola seed exports.
"What China is proposing to do is have a government mandated one per cent limit on dockage, which is lower then anywhere else in the world," says Canola Council of Canada vice president of government relations Brian Innes, "in fact, no where in the world is lower then 2.5 per cent. Right now that would be very difficult for the Canadian industry to meet on the volume of canola that we send to China."
Innes adds that the situation is already causing issues for Canada's canola industry.
"The impacts of this are already being felt by farmers. It is slowing our exports down already, we have seen prices fall, and we know that not achieving a solution will further reduce incomes and create more uncertainty," he said.