Canada seeks to end China canola fight without WTO

Wed Oct 28, 2009 1:49pm EDT
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By Randall Palmer

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canada is confident it can resolve a dispute with China over China's refusal to accept canola with blackleg disease without seeking World Trade Organization action, Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz said on Wednesday.

Ritz said he met with the Chinese ambassador to Canada on Tuesday.

"It's way too soon to (seek a WTO dispute settlement panel)," Ritz said in Ottawa. "I think we can resolve this long before a panel would be required."

Ritz said Canada has already dispatched officials to China.

"I'm hopeful that within a week or 10 days we'll get a really good idea (of China's position)," he said. "Our guys are there for the duration (and) they'll keep hammering away at this."

Asked if Canada wants China to extend its November 15 deadline to stop accepting Canadian blackleg canola, Ritz said Ottawa wants China to end the ban altogether.

"(Blackleg) is a situation that's totally under control and we're asking them to recognize that. We don't need this thing hanging over us."

Ritz said China is refusing blackleg canola so that it can reduce its canola inventory.   Continued...