At a media briefing Monday, April 1, Federal Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau said she sent a letter to her Chinese counterpart, requesting to send a delegation led by the president of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) to help resolve the issue surrounding Canola imports into China.
"As mentioned by the Prime Minister last week, Canada is prepared to send a high-level technical delegation to China," she said. "On the weekend, I sent a letter to my Chinese counterpart, requesting to send a delegation led by the President of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, along with her team of plant health experts, and the support of technical experts from the Prairie provinces. In the meantime, our plant health experts are engaged and exchanging technical information with Customs China, who have agreed to continue discussions in the near future."
Bibeau talked about other measures being taken.
"Last Friday, Minister Carr, and I were in Saskatchewan to meet with our provincial counterparts and agricultural leaders. Strong collaboration and ongoing dialogue between industry and governments is vitally important. That is why we have set up a working group, that includes the Canola Council, the Canola Growers Association, Richardson, Viterra, and representatives from the federal government and the Alberta, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan governments. The group will ensure a coordinated and collaborative approach towards resolving this market access issue. The group will also explore alternative markets, both for the short- and long-term."
China has revoked canola export permits from Richardson International and Viterra after Chinese officials said they found shipments containing pests. Canadian officials have rejected those claims stating that they are not science based. Chinese companies have also stopped purchasing Canadian canola seed.
Canada is the Number-One producer and exporter of canola in the world. Bibeau added that "Canadian canola is top quality, and the science and inspection system that supports our exports is world-class."
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