China delays new canola rules in late reprieve for Canada

Wed Aug 31, 2016 11:13am EDT
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By Ben Blanchard

BEIJING (Reuters) - China agreed on Wednesday to delay introducing stricter rules on canola shipments from Canada while both countries work to end a months-long trade spat, offering an eleventh hour temporary reprieve for Canada's farmers.

One day before the new standard was due to go into force, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said Canada would be able to continue with the current canola export regime, while a longer-term solution is worked out.

China is Canada's top export market for the oilseed, and Ottawa has taken a strong line in talks on a new standard, which may raise costs for exporters.

The delay may be seen as a victory for Trudeau, as the import dispute has taken center stage during his China visit.

China has said tougher import rules were necessary to prevent the spread of blackleg disease from Canadian canola into Chinese rapeseed, another name for the crop.

"China has no intention of keeping its doors closed to other exporters," Li told a joint news conference with Trudeau.

"But it's also true that Chinese canola producers have their own worries, hoping that imported canola will not carry with it any disease. Chinese consumers also have that issue on their mind," Li added.

Both sides should be flexible, he said.   Continued...

Chinese President Xi Jinping (R) shakes hands with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau ahead of their meeting at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing, China August 31, 2016. REUTERS/Wu Hong/Pool