China has agreed to import Canadian canola through to 2020 while both countries conduct research to find a “science-based and stable solution” to the presence of foreign material (dockage) in the imports.

China had planned to lower the amount of the amount of dockage allowed in Canadian canola imports from 2.5% to 1% to prevent the spread of black-leg disease.

The tougher standards were due to be imposed on 1 April but was postponed until 1 September, causing concern that the 1% limit would be physically impossible to achieve and extremely costly.

The agreement was announced on 22 September during a four-day Chinese visit to Canada. Canada is the world's largest canola exporter and over 40% of this trade is exported to China, worth some US$2 in 2015, said CBC News.

Under the agreement, trade would continue under current terms while additional research is conducted to determine whether there is a legitimate link between the level of dockage — stems, leaves or chaff that might be found in a grain shipment — and the risk of disease transmission, the report said.

"If we hadn't been able to come to an agreement, other exporters would have gotten into that market and we would have lost significant share," said Patti Miller, president of the Canola Council of Canada.

The two sides had been grappling over the issue since 2009, CBC News said.