The Canola Council of Canada (CCC) has requested federal intervention to resolve the country’s ongoing trade dispute with China over canola exports, World Grain reported on 28 February.

In March 2019, China started blocking Canadian canola imports, citing non-compliance with its plant health requirements.

At the same time, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) noted that China had strengthened its inspection measures on all Canadian canola seed shipments.

The CCC is calling for a continued focus on reinstating open market access to China, diversification overseas by improved access to Asian markets and diversifying in Canada by increasing the use of biofuels.

“The canola sector is being targeted by China”, World Grain quoted CCC president Jim Everson as saying. “Farmers and the industry they’re part of cannot continue to shoulder the impact of something entirely out of their control.”

According to the CCC, canola seed exports to China were down approximately 70% in 2019 due to trade disruptions, resulting in an estimated C$1bn (US$747M) in lost revenue from canola.

Before the dispute started, China accounted for approximately 40% of all Canadian canola seed, oil and meal exports.

While acknowledging that the federal government was committed to engaging Chinese authorities and resolving the dispute, Everson said actions to support market diversification had not materialised.

“Despite dozens of meetings with government, only token actions have been taken,” he added. “More needs to be done to support diversification.”

The CCC, which represents canola growers, processors, life science companies and exporters, is also calling on the government to increase biofuel content in diesel which would support the canola sector and reduce greenhouse emissions.