China has agreed to delay introducing stricter rules on canola shipments from Canada just a day before a new standard was due to take effect on 1 September.

The government had planned to reduce the amount of foreign matter (dockage) allowed per shipment to no more than 1% from the current 2.5% limit as it was concerned that black-leg disease might be spread from Canadian canola shipments to Chinese canola (see OFI News Brief, May 2016).

However, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said Canada would be able to continue with the current canola export regime while a longer-term solution was worked out, Reuters reported.

China was the biggest importer of Canadian canola in the 2014/15 crop year, buying 4.1M tonnes.

"China has no intention of keeping its doors closed to other exporters," Reuters reported Li telling a joint news conference with Trudeau. "But it's also true that Chinese canola producers have their own worries, hoping that imported canola will not carry with it any disease.”

Dockage includes foreign material such as seeds of other plants or straw that gets inadvertently mixed with a shipment.

There was speculation when China first announced the new rules earlier this year that the country was trying to slow canola imports because of ample domestic inventories (see OFI News, March/April 2016).