BEIJING (Reuters) – China and Canada agreed on Wednesday that Canada’s canola shipments will be exempt from tougher import standards due to take effect on Sept. 1 while the two sides work towards a permanent solution on canola sales.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, in a joint briefing with Chinese premier Li Keqiang, said Canada will be able to continue with the current canola export regime and he hoped for a long-term solution.
Li told the briefing China had no intention of shutting the door on imports, but added that the country’s farmers and consumers were worried about imported pests.
China is Canada’s top export market for the oilseed and the import dispute has taken centre stage during Trudeau’s visit to China.
Industry participants say the new standard, under which China will reduce the amount of foreign matter allowed per shipment to no more than 1% from 2.5%, would significantly raise costs for exporters.
China says the standard is necessary to prevent the spread of blackleg disease from Canadian canola into Chinese crops of rapeseed, another name for the agricultural commodity.
Negotiating teams from the two countries were currently meeting in Beijing, Canada’s Trade Minister Chrystia Freeland said.
“We are now working on achieving a long-term agreement on terms of Canadian canola shipments and, as the prime minister said, we are working to achieve that in the coming days and weeks,” she told reporters.
Li urged both sides to take a flexible attitude to the canola issue.
(Reporting by Ben Blanchard and Beijing Monitoring Desk; Editing by Richard Pullin)