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The Export Crisis Continues

A mere month ago, I wrote about a rising crisis for Canadian farmers in the world of international trade. Like most major political issues there was a general belief, perhaps misplaced, that the situation would improve.

Thirty short days later the world is incrementally worse. More Canadian farmers are being impacted and Waterloo Region is not excluded.

The first dispute, which started last winter before planting season, was canola and soybean exports into China. Actions on soybeans had a larger impact across Ontario since it is the largest field crop in terms of acreage and market receipts.

In late June as many farmers were attempting to plant crops nearly a month behind schedule (due primarily to weather and not political conditions), a larger crisis started when China shifted from delaying soybean shipments to a full scale embargo on all Canadian meat imports.

The current predicament is essentially a tainted pork shipment to China which lead to Canadian authorities admitting that an export certificate was not authentic. The Minister of Agriculture claimed the shipments that were alleged to have originated here did not. This does not appear to be an ordinary case of bacon past the expiration date and the potential forgery is being investigated by the RCMP

Particularly frustrating for Canadian farmers is that our food standards are the most demanding in the world and have been developed through highly rigourous and advanced science.  Cumulatively those past efforts in supplying high quality products for the global market have limited relevance.

For livestock farmers in Waterloo Region, an immediate concern is falling prices resulting from products not being moved to the Chinese market. More frustrating is an earlier expectation of rising pork prices due to swine fever in China.

An extraordinary level of political pressure is falling on the Prime Minister and a series of ministers to reach some type of resolution, particularly as a general election looms in October. China is a country of 1.4 billion people, however, no one wants to meet on Canadian food standards.

Two weeks ago, the Canadian government declared a climate emergency. We now have a trade emergency that needs a fast solution.

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