Chinese mission yields new canola meal, beef tallow exports

Canada’s latest trade mission to China has yielded plans for a major increase in Canadian canola meal purchases — and fulfillment of a pledge for restored market access for beef tallow.

In a release Tuesday from China, federal Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz announced that Tongwei Co., a feed manufacturer in China’s fish farming and livestock sectors, aims to boost its purchases of Canadian canola meal by up to $240 million a year by 2015.

Tongwei "believes their imports of Canadian canola could rise to $900 million over the next decade," the government said.

The Chinese firm’s plans, the government said, follow work by the Canola Council of Canada, with federal AgriFlexibility funding, to demonstrate the "superior quality and nutritional benefits" of canola meal to processors including Tongwei.

Related dairy feeding research found canola meal to be cost effective and a contributor to increased milk production in dairy cattle, the government added.

Tongwei, the government said, "intends to increase its use of Canadian canola meal in its aquafeed and to include it in other animal feed rations."

Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao on Wednesday also witnessed signing of a joint research agreement that "aims to create a stable trading environment with China for Canadian canola seed."

"Immediate access"

The trade mission on Wednesday also announced the conclusion of "extensive technical negotiations" leading to a new protocol for "immediate access" for industrial beef tallow to be exported from Canada to China.

The negotiations and new protocol follow China’s commitment in June 2010 to restore market access for Canadian beef and tallow. Protocols are already in place allowing exports of beef from Canadian cattle under 30 months of age (UTMs).

According to the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association, Canada exported $31 million of tallow in 2002 to China, where it’s used to make soaps, cosmetics, waxes, lubricants and biodiesel.

Since China shut its ports to Canadian beef and tallow in May 2003, following Canada’s discovery of its first domestic case of BSE in an Alberta cow, the value of China’s annual imports of tallow from various other countries has risen to over $400 million.

"The Canadian industry expects its renewed exports of tallow to outpace its previous performance and for the Chinese market for Canadian beef and tallow to exceed $110 million once full market access is achieved," the CCA said in a release Wednesday.

The new market access will add value to the overall price Canadian cattle producers get for their animals and provide incentive to process those animals in Canada, CCA president Travis Toews said.

"Not only does the Chinese market have a growing population, but more importantly they have a growing middle class that is looking for the quality the we as Canadian producers can supply," Grain Growers of Canada president Stephen Vandervalk, another participant in the trade mission, said in a separate release Tuesday.

"While it is good to have industry here on this trip, the Chinese business people and officials have been very pleased to hear directly from actual producers," he added.

"We are the ones who actually make the planting decisions and will grow the crops to the standards they are looking for, and we have had excellent dialogues about our respective challenges."

Related story:

China to resume Canadian beef imports, June 25, 2010

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