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China’s new restrictions for Canadian canola

Although China has delayed new regulations for Canadian canola, this trade dispute isn’t over

Nov 4, 2016

by Alberta Venture Staff

Canola fields, Alberta, Canada

When Prime Minister Justin Trudeau travelled to Beijing for an eight-day trip in August, he had the plight of Canada’s canola farmers on his mind. The industry feared the Chinese government would make good on its threat to tighten the regulations around acceptable levels of dockage (foreign material) in canola from 2.5 per cent down to one per cent, strangling Canada’s second-biggest market for canola exports (and biggest market for oilseed). Its reason? Blackleg, a fungal disease.

But there’s a sneaking suspicion that other factors are behind the squeeze. In 2009, Canada and China went through the same thing, and Canadian officials worked with Chinese regulators to settle the matter – temporarily. Then as now, China had large stockpiles of canola oil. Today, experts estimate China has about 5.5 million tonnes in stock and wants to slow imports. A day before the new restrictions were to go into effect, China agreed to delay their implementation.

Alberta is responsible for more than 35 per cent of Canada’s total canola crop. Canada, meanwhile, produces more than 20 per cent of the world’s canola and is responsible for 60 per cent of global canola exports

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