February 25, 2013
The Canola Council of Canada today released its comprehensive strategy for market access. Market Access for the Future outlines a long-term global strategy for canola market access, with a vision for how the Canadian canola industry and government can best work together to keep markets open and negotiate new market opportunities.
Canola is Canada’s largest cash crop, and more than 85% of production is exported as seed, oil or meal. “The entire impact of growing, processing, handling and marketing canola contributes $15.4 billion to the Canadian economy each year, and nearly all of this is dependent on market access,” says Patti Miller, President of the Canola Council of Canada (CCC). “It isn’t difficult to see why we must be diligent in keeping those international markets open.”
The strategy addresses four priorities:
—Elimination of tariffs that tax Canada’s canola exports and make them more expensive for importers. This will allow canola to compete fairly with other oilseeds and allow equal access for seed, oil, and meal. Eliminating tariffs is especially relevant for oil in Europe, seed and oil in China, oil in Japan, and oil in Korea.
—Sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) regulations that are predictable and science-based. SPS market access priorities outlined in the strategy are access to the Chinese market uninhibited by the presence of blackleg, food safety regulations that assure health and safety while promoting access and facilitating trade, and aligning maximum residue levels for pesticides in key markets.
—Biotech and new innovation regulations that are based in science and do not restrict market access. Important priorities are synchronous international approval of new biotech traits, joint recognition of risk assessments for new technologies, and effective policies to accommodate the growing risk and uncertainty linked to the low level presence of unapproved biotech traits.
—International methodology to define sustainability so it can’t be used to bar market access. Canada fought to gain access to U.S. and E.U. biodiesel markets, however one part of the strategy is to monitor U.S. and E.U. policy development to ensure that the environmentally sustainable practices of the Canadian industry are recognized.
The CCC market access strategy depends on co-operation between the canola industry and the Government of Canada, and outlines roles for each. “Market Access for the Future recognizes that we are most effective when we combine our respective strengths,” Miller says.
The canola industry is best positioned to identify and prioritize market access issues. With these top issues identified, government is instrumental in working toward solutions. The Market Access Secretariat within Agriculture and Agri-food Canada is an effective coordinating body for the Government of Canada – bringing together policy intelligence, expertise and commitment from across the departments of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, Agriculture and Agri-food Canada and Health Canada.
“Canola is one of Canada’s top innovation success stories,” says Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz. “Our Government welcomes the opportunity to partner with industry to maintain and improve market access around the world for Canada’s healthy, top-quality canola.”
The new strategy builds on the success of the existing Canola Market Access Plan, which has already made significant progress in key markets. Work to date on this has resulted in $2.3 billion in markets maintained or expanded.
This includes restoration of the Chinese market after concerns about canola seed testing positive for blackleg led to an emergency quarantine order in 2009-10. Exports dropped dramatically until the Canadian industry and government collectively worked to build understanding and implement provisional measures mitigating the potential risk. As a result, more than 2.9 million tonnes of canola seed worth more than $1.8 billion was exported to approved Chinese destinations in 2012.
The CCC’s Market Access for the Future strategy recognizes that trade situations can change quickly — and often with devastating results when industry and government are not prepared. “Market access is a job that is never completely done,” Miller says. “It takes ongoing commitment and diligence.”
For comment contact:
Patti Miller, President
Canola Council of Canada