Canada won concessions from China on several farm exports during a trade mission to Beijing and Inner Mongolia, but China’s more-important restrictions on Canadian canola and beef remain in place.
China lifted import restrictions on Canadian peas, signed an agreement to buy $100-million worth of malt barley from the Canadian Wheat Board and reopened its market to purebred swine genetics, Canada’s agriculture minister Gerry Ritz said April 15.
Ritz said he expects Canadian pulse crop exports, which include peas, to increase to $500 million from the current $100 million.
“Something as simple as finding a way to add a teaspoon of pea flour to a Chinese dumpling will mean tremendous opportunities for Canadian pulse producers and healthier meals for Chinese families,” Ritz said.
China lifted its restrictions on peas after joint research showed there is no health risk with naturally occurring mineral selenium, Ritz said. Pulse exports will also rise as a result of an agreement between industry groups Pulse Canada and Chinese Cereals and Oils Association to add pulse ingredients to staple Chinese foods, he said.
China’s beer demand drove up its barley imports from Canada by 86 per cent from August 2009 through January 2010, replacing the United States as Canada’s top barley export market.
Access for purebred swine genetics follows China’s decision in December to lift its ban on Canadian pork related to H1N1 flu concerns. That market could be worth $30 million this year, according to the Canadian Swine Exporters Association.
The trade mission failed to secure breakthroughs, however, on China’s restrictions against Canadian beef and canola, two of Canada’s biggest farm exports.
China is one of the few countries that continues to ban all Canadian beef since the discovery of mad-cow disease in 2003.
Since late last year, China has restricted imports of canola with blackleg disease from Canada to select ports and is poised to refuse all blackleg canola from Canada as of Aug. 1.
The Canola Council of Canada plans to spend $1 million on field demonstrations and surveys to find ways of minimizing the risk of the fungal disease. It is also spending $500,000 on trials in Chinese dairies on canola meal feed.