April 1, 2019, 3:15 p.m
Thank you all for joining us today.
We’re here to update you on the restricted access to China’s market for Canadian canola.
We know that maintaining markets for our high-quality canola means more money in the pockets of our farmers and supports good, middle-class jobs for Canadian farm families.
As you know, China has suspended the licenses of two Canadian companies and they increased their inspections on all of our canola seed.
We understand that farmers are concerned, and we hear them.
We know just how important canola is to their livelihoods and to the economy of the Prairies and all of Canada.
Our message to Canada’s canola farmers is this:
We stand firmly with you, and resolving this issue is a top priority for our Government.
Canada is the Number-One producer and exporter of canola in the world.
Canadian canola is top quality, and the science and inspection system that supports our exports is world-class.
As mentioned by the Prime Minister last week, Canada is prepared to send a high-level technical delegation to China.
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.
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.
On top of that, we know Canada’s canola farmers have concerns about seeding, storage, and prices.
As farmers know, the Government has programs in place to support them and help manage risks and cash flow.
We continue exploring the set of current risk management and support tools to ensure that they can respond to this issue as it continues to develop.
To close, I would like to reiterate that our canola and our inspection systems are world-class.
Resolving this issue with China is a top priority for Canada.
I will now turn the floor over to my colleague, Minister of International Trade Diversification, Jim Carr.