Timeline of key activities: Canola seed exports to China
January 4, 2019 to Present
January 4, 2019 – The General Administration of Customs of China (GACC) notifies Canada that it intercepted multiple quarantine pests in canola seed shipments from Canada. GACC places Richardson International Ltd on a warning list and indicates that more stringent actions may follow.
March 1, 2019 – Canada receives notification from GACC that it has suspended the licence of Richardson International Ltd following multiple notifications of non-compliance with China's plant health requirements.
March 1, 2019 – Canada sends a letter to GACC to initiate scientific discussion regarding the findings.
March 5, 2019 – Canada raises the issue again with GACC. Canadian officials are in contact with both Richardson International Ltd and the Canola Council of Canada. GACC publicly delists Richardson on their website.
March 6, 2019 – The Chinese Government issues a news release supporting GACC's actions saying that they are well-founded based on the pest detections, which in China's view "pose a serious threat to agricultural production and ecological safety."
March 7, 2019 – GACC issues an additional warning notice stating that China is strengthening the quarantine of imported Canadian canola seed.
March 15, 2019 – GACC communicates their willingness to engage with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and provides some technical information requested by Canada.
March 18, 2019 – A discussion and an exchange of technical information takes place between plant health experts from Canada and GACC.
March 26, 2019 – GACC issues a notice on its website stating that it has revoked the canola seed export licence of Viterra Inc.
March 26, 2019 – A follow-up discussion and exchange of additional technical information is held between Canada and GACC regarding the action to delist Viterra.
March 31, 2019 – Agriculture and Agri-Food Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau sends a letter to her Chinese counterpart offering to send a delegation of Canadian plant health experts to China to come up with a science-based solution.
March 31, 2019 – CFIA President Dr. Siddika Mithani sends a letter to her Chinese counterpart outlining the proposed delegation and suggested agenda items for discussion.
April 1, 2019 – AAFC announces the formation of a Government of Canada canola working group where industry and governments can exchange views on a coordinated and collaborative approach towards resolving the issue.
April 4, 2019 – The working group holds its inaugural meeting, discussing the importance of finding a science-based solution to resolve the issue. The group also explores future opportunities to expand into new markets and reviews support available to affected producers. The group agrees to meet weekly.
April 18, 2019 – The working group holds its first face-to-face meeting in Winnipeg and discusses current market conditions and how to support the sector, including diversifying into new markets.
May 7, 2019 – Canada formally raises the issue with its counterparts at the World Trade Organization through the General Council, which is one of the WTO's highest decision-making body in Geneva - second only to the Ministerial Conference.
May 9 to 14, 2019 – Minister Bibeau meets with her international counterparts and Japanese canola sector associations at the G20 Agriculture Meeting in Japan. Discussions are productive and centre on supplying Canadian canola to world markets on a sustained basis.
June 3, 2019 – AAFC implements the new regulations to strengthen the Advance Payments Program.
June 5, 2019 – Plant health experts from CFIA and GACC have a technical discussion on the canola seed issue, during which CFIA reiterates their previous requests for additional technical information and to hold a face-to-face meeting to allow for in-depth technical discussions. Customs China does not agree to a face-to-face meeting but proposes a series of teleconferences.
June 6 to 10, 2019 – Jim Carr, Minister of International Trade and Diversification, leads a trade mission to Japan and South Korea to promote canola exports, coinciding with the G20 Ministerial Meeting in Tsukuba, Japan where the Minister continues to champion open, predictable and non-discriminatory trade.
June 13, 2019 – Minister Bibeau, Minister Carr and Export Development Canada's Carl Burlock announce an additional $150 million in insurance support to Canadian canola exporters.
September 6, 2019 – Minister Carr announces that Canada will be seeking World Trade Organization consultations with China, in an effort to resolve the canola seed market access issue.
October 28, 2019 – World Trade Organization consultations between Canada and China take place. The consultations provide an opportunity for important face-to-face discussions.
December 18 to 20, 2019 – Technical discussions between Canada and China take place. The meeting provides an opportunity for an important dialogue between technical experts, and the two countries exchange additional information. The Canadian delegation includes representatives from CFIA, AAFC, Global Affairs Canada, and the provinces of Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta.
March 30, 2020 - Officials from the Government of Canada and Customs China hold a teleconference to discuss the trade conditions for the export of Canadian canola seed to China. Customs China indicates that it will permit the continued trade in canola seed, however canola seed exports as of April 1 will need to be at less than 1% dockage level. The Government of Canada will continue to engage with Chinese officials in the coming months to restore market access for the two companies that continue to be blocked from exporting canola seed to China.
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