Agricultural Initiatives

Beijing, China
8 February 2012

The Government of Canada is committed to strengthening its important trade and investment relationship with China. To this end, Prime Minister Harper and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao today announced two new agreements which will expand Canadian agricultural and agri-food exports to China.

By making way for new and expanded markets, the new agreements will provide hard working Canadian farmers and processors with stable and predictable export opportunities, while creating jobs and economic growth in Canada.

Market Access for Canadian beef and Tallow for Industrial Use

During Chinese President Hu Jintao’s visit to Canada in June 2010, Canada and China signed a Cooperative Arrangement committing them to resolving access for Canadian beef, beef products and tallow for industrial use. The Chinese market for both Canadian beef and cattle was closed in May 2003 following Canada's first case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE). Following extensive technical negotiations, Canada and China reached an agreement in May 2011 which restored access for Canadian deboned beef derived from animals under thirty months of age.

The new Protocol Between the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine of China and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency on Quarantine and Health Requirements for Industrial Beef Tallow to be Exported from Canada to China, signed on February 8, 2012, represents the next step of the 2010 Cooperative Arrangement. It stipulates conditions for access of Canadian tallow for industrial use in China and clears the way for the immediate access to the lucrative Chinese beef tallow market by Canadian processors for the first time in almost a decade.

In 2002, Canadian exports of tallow were worth more than $31 million, which made China the top export market for Canadian tallow. In 2010, China imported over $400 million in tallow from countries around the world.

Memorandum of Understanding on Joint Canola Research

China is one of Canada's most valuable canola export markets. In 2009, China restricted imports of Canadian canola seed due to the presence of blackleg, a fungal disease in canola and rapeseed. While a transitional agreement granted by China in November of the same year allows temporary and limited exports of canola, Canadian and Chinese governments and industry continue to work toward a long-term solution.

The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), signed by Prime Minister Harper and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, allows for Canadian-funded joint research to be conducted in Canada to provide a better understanding of blackleg and assist officials in mitigating the risks to Chinese crops associated with the disease. The MOU, which is effective immediately, is part of an ongoing strategy to achieve a stable trading environment with China for Canadian canola seed.