China gives Canada reprieve in canola dispute by extending deadline

China gives Canada reprieve in canola dispute by extending deadline Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau chats with the Premier of the People’s Republic of China, Li Keqiang, during a signing ceremony for several tentative agreements in Beijing, China, on Wednesday, August 31, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld by Andy Blatchford, The Canadian Press Posted Aug 30, 2016 11:00 pm MDT Last Updated Aug 31, 2016 at 10:00 am MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email BEIJING, China – China says it will lift a fast-approaching deadline to introduce rule changes on Canadian canola shipments that threatened to inflict damage on the multibillion-dollar sector.Starting Thursday, the Chinese government had planned to enforce tighter regulations on the amount of foreign materials — such as weeds, other crops and detritus — permitted in canola exports from Canada.But after a meeting Wednesday in Beijing between Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, the two countries announced the existing rules would stay in place as they continued to negotiate a long-term solution.The two sides disagree on the level of foreign material, known as dockage, that should be considered acceptable in Canada’s canola exports to China. The Chinese government wants the contamination cut by more than half.The canola dispute was expected to dominate the trade agenda during Trudeau’s high-level meetings during his first official visit to China.“We’re happy to reassure Canadian farmers that (at) the Sept. 1 deadline we will be able to continue with the current regime of canola and we (will) work together very closely towards a long-term solution in the coming days and weeks ahead,” Trudeau said.Speaking through a translator, Li said both sides have “shown flexibility” on the issue.He noted that while China itself is a large canola producer, it has no intention to keep its door closed to other exporters. But he said Chinese producers and consumers have concerns that disease could be imported.“We believe that both sides will be able to make some mutual adjustments with the larger picture of China-Canadian trade and ties in mind,” he said.International Trade Minister Chrystia Freeland, who is part of the delegation travelling with Trudeau, had earlier said the issue is of “absolute importance” to the Canada-Chinese trade relationship.“As everyone knows, this was something that was a very difficult issue for our canola growers, for our canola exporters, and we were very, very pleased to be able to achieve today that Canadian canola shipments can continue,” Freeland said.Patti Miller, the president of Canola Council of Canada, called the extension a “significant step towards resolution of this long-standing issue” and gave credit to the Trudeau government.“It’s a turning point that we hope will allow governments to quickly conclude a science-based agreement that will provide long-term stability,” Miller wrote in an email.China’s ambassador to Canada, Luo Zhaohui, complained last week that Canada was being inflexible and unfair in its approach to talks that began about seven years ago.Canadian farmers sold $2 billion worth of canola seed last year in China — or 40 per cent of the country’s exports of the crop.Follow @AndyBlatchford on Twitter read more