OTTAWA, O.N. – The Government of Canada Working Group on Canola held its first meeting on April 4.The Government says the meeting is to resolve the market access issue affecting Canada’s canola seed exports to China.According to the Chinese Government, the recent halt of imports of Canadian canola is due to pest-related issues. “It is imperative that we find a science-based solution to this issue and we look forward to getting a response from Chinese authorities regarding the proposed Canadian delegation. Resuming canola seed exports with China is the canola industry’s top priority. It is essential for our farmers and their families, and for our entire agricultural industry.”The Working Group says they will continue to meet regularly to closely monitor the situation and collaborate to resolve this issue. During the meeting, representatives discussed the importance of focusing on a science-based solution to resolve this issue.The Group also touched on future opportunities to expand into new markets for canola and reviewed support available to affected producers.The Working Group is co-chaired by the deputy minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and the president of Canola Council of Canada and its membership includes the president of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, the president the Canadian Canola Growers Association, deputy ministers from Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta.According to Government statistics, Canada is the number-one producer and exporter of canola in the world, accounting for approximately $11 billion of the country’s exports each year.In addition to the working group, the Canadian Government has called for in-depth technical meetings with Chinese officials, proposing to send a delegation of Canadian plant health experts to China to meet face-to-face with their counterparts, in order to identify a science-based solution to this issue as quickly as possible.Canola Council of Canada President, Jim Everson, says resuming canola seed exports with China is the canola industry’s top priority as it is essential for the entire agricultural industry.