Government and cherry production leaders said they are not concerned with Canada’s diplomatic relationship with China potentially harming the exporting industry.
The detention of Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, production bans on agriculture food imports and China’s increasing imperialist presence in Taiwan has warranted speculation that Canada and their number two international sweet cherry buyer is in a peculiar situation; according to Canadian industry leaders, that is not the case.
“The intel that we have with our customers within China is that the Chinese people and the consumers that are buying our cherries don’t have a grudge with Canada —it’s more of a political level tension,” BC Cherry Association vice-president David Geen said.
On a strictly business to consumer relationship, Geen said there has not been a decline in sales across seas.
“It’s a relatively small crop in the big scheme of things and it’s not one that is easily replaced,” he said.
“Minister Jim Carr and Minister Freeland are obviously working across the board to make sure that not just our tradelines but our international relationships are strong and positive,” Justice Minister David Lametti said, noting that the Tuesday, Aug. 13 achievement of announcing a $241,000 investment into the B.C. cherry industry is to help strengthen Canada’s existing markets, as well as expand into new ones.
“Our fiscal relationships with other countries matter more now than ever as far as diversifying,” Kelowna-Lake Country MP Stephen Fuhr said. “Our biggest customer and our biggest relationship — which is still important — isn’t the only game in town.”
Currently, Canada’s largest fruit market by far is the United States with $4.61 million worth of fruit being sold south of the border in 2017, according
Overall, the U.S. imports 66 per cent of Canada’s fruit exports with China, Japan and Germany tied for second at five per cent.
Reporter, Kelowna Capital News
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