Canola & China – What growers should know

May 16, 2019

Alberta Canola continues to work on behalf of growers through the Canola Council of Canada (CCC) on the challenges that persist for canola seed exports to China. Alberta Canola is a core funder of the Canola Council of Canada. The Canola Council is working to keep all stakeholders informed by providing the following information which will  be updated as new information is available. This information is also posted on

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Updated May 16, 2019

Canola Council call: May 24 grower update on trade with China

The Canola Council of Canada, on behalf of growers and the entire canola value chain, is working closely with the Government of Canada to resolve challenges facing canola seed exports to China. Please join us for a call to provide canola producers with an update on developments and ongoing work. Hear from:

  • Agriculture and Agri-Food Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau
  • CCC president Jim Everson
  • CCGA CEO Rick White

Friday, May 24
8:30 am CDT (7:30 am in Alberta and Saskatchewan)
Call will include remarks followed by 15-20 minutes of questions


Growers will have the opportunity to submit questions when registering. After registering, they will receive information about how to join by phone or computer. Please note this will be conference call with audio only (will not include any visuals of the speakers).
Those who join the call from a computer can also submit questions during the event.

Updated May 14, 2019

Grain Growers of Canada (GGC) today called on the federal government to develop a strategy to address an increasingly unpredictable trade environment affecting the incomes of grain farmers across Canada. The strategy should recognize that China’s blocking of Canadian canola is politically motivated, which was acknowledged last week by Prime Minister Trudeau.

Read the full May 14, 2019 media release: Grain Growers of Canada calls on government to provide meaningful support amidst trade disruptions

(Alberta Canola is a member of the Canadian Canola Growers Association, which in turn is a member of the Grain Growers of Canada)

Updated May 10, 2019

On May 7th Canada raised concerns about China’s treatment of Canadian canola at the World Trade Organization, pressing China to show evidence of their quality concerns. The Canadian ambassador told WTO members at the Council meeting, including China, that, “Canada has repeatedly asked China for the scientific evidence that supports its findings and the measures taken – but China has not been forthcoming in providing this information.”  During his remarks the ambassador highlighted how an “open and predictable rules-based international trade is the only way global commerce can succeed.” After noting that Canada has tested the shipments in question twice and found they comply with Chinese requirements, Canada asked China to “engage in solution finding” as Canada has done using every available channel. 

Canola trade to China hasn’t changed over the past few weeks. Chinese buyers remain unwilling to purchase Canadian canola seed and the licenses of two companies, Richardson and Viterra, to export canola seed to China are suspended. Oil exports continue to occur and are being monitored closely. Canola meal shipments remain unaffected. As has been reported, it is becoming evident that Chinese buyers are reluctant to purchase a variety of Canadian grains and oilseed products.

The Canola Working Group remains focused on regaining access to the Chinese market and continues to meet regularly. It is actively considering all options to support predictable, rules-based trade – particularly as China has not responded to requests for a Canadian delegation to visit to understand the scientific basis behind China’s actions. The Group is working on diversifying canola exports and is reviewing a range of activities that include risk coverage for new canola buyers and enhancing market access and promotion activities in alternative Asian markets where there’s opportunities for canola seed, oil and meal. Diversifying markets in Canada by increasing the amount of canola used in biofuel is also being discussed. Supporting producers is top of mind for the Group and efforts are underway to monitor market conditions closely, so that if action is needed in the future it is timely and effective

Updated May 3, 2019

AFCS media relaease: AgriStability deadline extended to July 2

The 2019 AgriStability deadline was extended 60 days to July 2, to support producers affected by the ongoing Canada/China trade dispute. The extension applies to all sectors; producers from all sectors are welcome to apply through to July 2.

READ the media release

Updated May 1, 2019:

Canola Council of CanadaHelpful support for canola producers 

Trade to China remains consistent with recent weeks. Chinese buyers remain unwilling to purchase Canadian canola seed and the licenses of two companies, Richardson and Viterra, to export canola seed to China are suspended. Canola oil exports continue to occur and are being monitored closely. Canola meal shipments remain unaffected. While technical discussions have taken place between the Chinese and Canadian governments, the scientific basis for China’s actions remain unclear. The CCC continues to work on behalf of the canola value chain with the Government of Canada to resolve the issue as quickly as possible, as well as collaborating with federal and provincial governments on market diversification and supporting producers through this time of significant uncertainty. All options to resolve the issue are being considered. The industry-government canola working group continues to meet weekly to coordinate action, bringing together federal and provincial governments as well as the canola sector.

Canadian canola Growers AssociationCash Advance Program Enhancements Support Farmers

Earlier today, Agriculture and Agri-Food Minister, Marie-Claude Bibeau, announced a series​ of enhancements to the Advance Payments Program (APP) that support farmers facing cash flow challenges in Canada’s grains and oilseeds sector. These changes include increasing the maximum allowable limit available under the APP from $400,000 to $1,000,000, and expanding the program’s interest-free component for canola from $100,000 to $500,000 until market conditions stabilize. The interest-free component will remain at $100,000 for all other commodities included under the APP.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the current situation affecting canola seed exports to China?

Chinese importers are currently unwilling to purchase Canadian canola seed from any exporters at this time, and China has officially taken regulatory action to suspend the licenses for Viterra and Richardson for canola seed. Canadian exporters must be licensed in order to export canola seed to China.

China has been a major market for Canadian canola, accounting for approximately 40% of all canola seed, oil and meal exports. Canola seed exports to China were worth $2.7 billion in 2018. Demand has been very strong until recent disruptions.

Does this affect canola oil and meal exports?

Canola oil and meal are not subject to the same challenges as seed. Canola meal and oil continue to be shipped to China.

What are the license suspensions based on?

China has indicated they have a quality concern with Canadian canola seed related to specified quarantine pests that include weed seeds and plant diseases. These are identified in the public notices of non-compliance issued to Richardson and Viterra by China’s customs agency. The Canadian Food Inspection disagrees with the assessment of China’s customs agency.

Technical discussions about these pests of concern have not indicated that an immediate resolution is possible. We are confident in the quality of Canadian canola. Our canola consistently meets the requirements of countries around the world.

Has a third company been suspended?

A third company has been issued a notice of non-compliance but not a suspension of their export license. Non-compliances are issued directly from China’s customs agency to the company involved and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. This information is confidential, and shared only between the company and the Government of Canada.

What does this mean for existing contracts and deliveries?

Grain handlers have confirmed they are honouring all contracts for seed delivery, though this may involve some delays in delivery to the grain elevator. For contracts where a grower does not have the grade contracted for delivery, the grower will need to work directly with their grain buyer.

What does this mean for new contracts and deliveries?

China represents approximately 40% of canola exports and no sales of seed to China are occurring. This impacts the demand for and value of canola. Canola seed exporters are looking to supply customers in other countries such as Japan, Mexico, Europe, Pakistan, the UAE and Bangladesh, who value high quality Canadian canola. Growers are encouraged to contact their local grain buyer to discuss marketing options.

For those managing longer-term storage of canola, the Canola Council’s Canola Encyclopedia offers a comprehensive resource of best management practices for safe, on-farm canola storage.

Should growers cut back on seeding intentions in 2019?

Growers, as always, need to make their own choices, and consider many factors when making seeding decisions. We believe the fundamentals of trade with China are strong – we have an industry strategy to ensure a sustainable and growing supply of high quality canola in Canada, and growing demand in China for high quality oil and protein. We have a challenging situation in China at this time but believe the basis for trade in canola between the two countries remains solid.

How is the Canola Council responding?

The Canola Council, which includes growers, continues to work closely with the Government of Canada to find science-based solutions and resume stable trade as quickly as possible. The Government of Canada has acted quickly, and is engaged at the most senior levels to resolve the issue. This has included numerous interactions between the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and their Chinese counterpart to resolve quality concerns that have been raised, including a request for a high-level mission to intensify science-based discussions. Technical discussions with China are required to resolve technical concerns.

Since March 1st, the CCC has spoken with the prime minister, the foreign affairs minister, the trade minister, the federal agriculture minister as well as both the Saskatchewan and Manitoba agriculture ministers, emphasizing the importance of resolving the issue for the whole Canadian value chain, including growers, and how this affects all Canadians. The CCC is also co-chairing the Government of Canada working group on canola. We will continue our efforts to focus attention in Ottawa on resolving this issue as quickly as possible.

Who is involved in the Government of Canada working group on canola? What is its role?

The working group is co-chaired by the deputy minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and the president of the Canola Council of Canada, and includes the president of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, the president of the Canadian Canola Growers Association, deputy ministers from the provinces of Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba as well as other senior government and industry officials.

The working group is focused on collaborating to find a science-based solution to resolve this issue as quickly as possible. The group is also discussing future opportunities to expand into new markets for canola, and support available to affected producers.

For more information, read the update from the inaugural working group meeting on April 4.

What are the next steps that the Canola Council is recommending?

As we focus attention in Ottawa on resolving this issue as soon as possible, the Canola Council feels the following steps are necessary:

  • Complete a technical mission to China as soon as possible. As part of normal procedure, Canada has requested that a high-level delegation to Beijing be received by China to intensify science-based discussions. We urge China to accommodate this request as soon as possible.
  • If China does not accommodate this request, we urge the Government of Canada to work with the industry and take all possible measures to resolve this situation and restore market access.
  • We recommend the appointment of an ambassador to China at the earliest opportunity. Canada has an outstanding foreign service, including at our embassy in Beijing. However, an ambassador has a unique role as Canada’s most senior representative and it is appropriate that Canada appoint an ambassador to this significant export market.
  • Through the Government of Canada working group, we are looking at a wide range of options to restore the China market, engage alternative markets and support canola producers dealing with significant market uncertainty.

Where can I find more information?

For more information, the Canola Council has posted the following updates/statements on this issue:

The Canadian Canola Growers Association (CCGA)

Canadian Canola Growers Association (CCGA) represents 43,000 canola farmers across Canada and is the national grower association representing Canada’s five provincial canola grower associations. CCGA is also a member of the Canola Council of Canada.CCGA is keenly aware of the impact that market access issues with China are having on canola farmers and is communicating these concerns to the highest levels of Government

Government of Canada updates:

Upcoming Events

Canola Council call: May 24 grower update on trade with China

Grower update call from the canola industry & Minister Bibeau
May 24


The agronomy event of the summer!
Jun 26
Lacombe, Alberta

Alberta Combine College

Optimize harvest and boost your farm’s profitability!
Jul 10
Lethbridge, Alberta
  • Know Your Grade for Canola

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