Press Releases

AWC supports WTO dispute against China for Canadian Canola ban, but says the government must take similar action to re-open the Italian durum market

The Alberta Wheat Commission (AWC) commends the federal government for launching a formal World Trade Organization (WTO) dispute resolution case against China for their ban on Canadian canola imports, but is renewing its call for similar action to resolve the loss of the Italian durum market which has caused devastating impacts on grain farmers.
Canadian farmers lost two-thirds of their most important durum market following Italy’s introduction of Country of Origin Labelling (COOL) on pasta in 2017, a protectionist mechanism that circumvents the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA).

“As a durum grower in the southern dryland region of Alberta, this high-value crop has been a staple where moisture concerns limit yield potential for other types of wheat,” says Gary Stanford, AWC Chair. “We fully support and commend the action being taken to resolve China’s ban on canola, but we have lost the majority of the Italian durum market for nearly two years – despite the CETA agreement being in place – resulting in a serious blow to our farm margins.”

Through our membership in Cereals Canada and the Grain Growers of Canada, AWC has pressed for a WTO challenge to be opened against Italy for nearly two years in response to the devastating loss of this market.

Historically, the Italian durum market has been the top purchaser for Canadian durum, accounting for a quarter of exports or approximately one million tonnes. Introduction of COOL has resulted in a 20 per cent drop in Canadian durum production this year.
Media Contact:
Victoria Decker
Communications Manager
Alberta Wheat and Barley Commissions