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Source: Canola Council of Canada news release

As the second anniversary of restrictions facing seed exports to China approaches, the Canola Council of Canada (CCC) is launching its revitalized market access plan to prevent and resolve challenges in the future. The updated plan reflects the consensus of the canola value chain on how market access challenges are evolving, the priorities of the sector and how industry will work with government to create more stable and open trade.

"Our revitalized market access strategy is important because it allows us to focus attention on how we can create more stable and open trade for the entire canola value chain," says Jim Everson, president of the CCC. "We've seen the real impact that market blockages and increased risk can have, and we're excited to have a new road map to tackle these challenges."

Ongoing market access restrictions for canola seed to China continue to have a significant impact on the industry since they were first implemented on March 6, 2019. Seed exports to China have fallen from $2.8 billion in 2018 before the restrictions, to $800 million in 2019 and $1.4 billion in 2020. Expert analysis estimates this has cost the industry between $1.54 and $2.35 billion from lost sales and lower prices between March 2019 and August 2020.

"Our industry is seeing market access become more complex because of diverging international and domestic regulations on measures related to plant, animal and human health," says Everson. "We continue to see barriers that prevent us from adopting new innovation and technology, as well as an ongoing need for vigilance on sustainability requirements for biofuel markets."

Within the plan, there are four main focus areas:
Eliminate tariffs and tariff differentials to expand markets and create more stability;
Create a predictable trading environment through science-based sanitary and phytosanitary rules;
Enable technology advancements and access to innovation and technology; and
Enable market growth, increased value and trade diversification through biofuel and sustainability approvals.

As the trade landscape has changed here in Canada and abroad since the previous strategy was released in 2013, global diversification and the importance of collaboration with other organizations here in Canada are important parts of the revitalized market access plan. Priority markets where there is significant demand for canola are also highlighted.

Implementing the strategy requires a cooperative approach between industry and government. The Government of Canada - coordinated through the Market Access Secretariat of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada - is an important partner to prevent and resolve market access issues.

The CCC believes that more government resources are required to diversify markets and create trade predictability in Asia, and is asking the Government of Canada to create an Asian Diversification Office. Led by experienced market access officers, it should consist of a multi-disciplinary team including technical and regulatory policy experts that work collaboratively with industry. It should be based in Asia with a pan-Asian mandate.

Read the full Market Access Plan and the Case Study - Impacts of the Chinese Trade Restrictions on the Canadian Canola Industry.

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