Prime Minister Trudeau is in China touting Canada’s agricultural safety.
That country wants stricter controls on our canola exports to prevent what it says is blackleg disease.
The Chinese want the dockage rate — the amount of stems, pods, weeds, and other matter that ends up in shipments — cut to one per cent from 2.5 per cent.
Saskatchewan’s Agriculture Minister Lyle Stewart said that could mean a big hit for our farmers.
“They do have a large enough market to influence canola prices,” Stewart explained. “Plus, if that is a market that is suddenly not available to us that’s a substantial backlog of canola on our farms and in the system.”
Stewart is unclear if this is protectionism at work but points out Canada is the only country being treated like this. The same stipulations have not been made of Australia.
He hopes China will reconsider.
“Dockage levels are something that are negotiated, 2.5 per cent is standard, and if you want less than that you have to pay for that,” Stewart said.
China had imposed a deadline of Sept. 1, but late on Tuesday the country agreed to extend the deadline.
Canada is sticking to science to urge China to reconsider its decision.