Jean-Marc PhotoOn Friday, May 24, the Manitoba Chambers of Commerce hosted Jean-Marc Ruest, SVP and General Counsel, Richardson International Limited as our MBiz Breakfast keynote speaker. Mr. Ruest shared valuable insight into how the company is invoking their 160-year pioneering spirit to face a new wave of trade barriers amid growing global protectionism.

Canola trade suspensions are critical to Canada. As the number-one producer and exporter of canola in the world, our canola exports are valued at more than $11 billion annually. In Manitoba, 40% of all canola was previously exported to China. 

It has been widely speculated that the Chinese government’s Canadian canola seed trade blockades are a public response to unrelated political matters, especially since Canadian canola has an international reputation as being of the highest quality, and its inspection system is known as robust and world-class.

But are they also a harbinger of tougher challenges yet to come? Some say they’re an indicator of economic development protectionism, pointing to other recent “administrative challenges” such as exporters reporting mysterious trade concerns related to peas, soybeans, and pork. 

The canola industry associations and federal government are aligning to take action. On May 1, the federal government announced their intention to temporarily increase loan limits to ease farmers’ cash flow pressures and help them manage the impacts of market disruptions in key export countries. Through trade missions and participation in the G20 Agriculture Ministers’ Meeting, the federal government intends to diversify trade by exploring new markets, specifically Japan and South Korea, as well as other high potential countries like the United Arab Emirates, Thailand, Malaysia, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Mexico, Germany, and France.

Very special thanks to Jean-Marc Ruest and Richardson International Limited; MBiz Breakfast series sponsor 6P Marketing; breakfast sponsor Farm Credit Canada; legacy sponsor CN; series supporters Travel Manitoba and CPHR Manitoba; and exclusive media sponsor The Winnipeg Free Press.