As we speak, Federal diplomats are working behind the scenes, trying to get China to back down from a looming policy change.
China is demanding that Canada reduce the amount of organic waste materials in Canola seed shipments, also known as “dockage”.
The industry standard is 2.5%, but China wants that down to 1%, starting September 1st.
And Alberta Canola Producers Chair Greg Sears tells the Alberta Morning News it will definitely cost Canadian farmers.
“To physically clean the entire Canadian export crop to 1% would essentially slow our export system down to snail’s pace,” says Sears, “which would make it very difficult to export the quantities that we export to China.”
China’s official reason for the move is to prevent the spread of a plant disease called black leg, but Sears says the policy isn’t supported by science.
“The Canola Council has been working very hard at presenting them with the science that says that there is no significant change in the black leg transmission by going to a 1% dockage requirement versus the existing 2.5% to 3% dockage.”
Even with China’s large rapeseed industry, China is still one of Canada’s biggest customers for Canola. Critics say the change a veiled protectionist move, making domestic rapeseed more attractive to Chinese buyers. (ms, Alberta Morning News)