Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

June 24, 2015 16:29 ET

Harper Government Secures Access for Fresh B.C. Blueberries to China

ABBOTSFORD, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwired - June 24, 2015) - Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

The Honourable Gerry Ritz, Minister of Agriculture, and the Honourable Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade, and Member of Parliament for Abbotsford, today announced that Canada and China have agreed to sustained market access for fresh British Columbia blueberries.

Chinese inspectors are expected to visit Canada this summer to carry out a pre-shipment inspection and to authorize the first shipments of blueberries to China. Once fully implemented, the Canadian blueberry industry estimates new access to this important market to be worth $65 million annually.

On the occasion of this important announcement, Minister Fast and the Honourable Norm Letnick, British Columbia's provincial Agriculture Minister, visited Westberry Farms in Abbotsford, B.C. today to see first-hand how blueberry producers will benefit from this new market access.

Quick facts

  • British Columbia is the largest highbush blueberry-producing region in the world, with production more than doubling in the last decade.
  • In 2014, B.C. produced about 65,500 tonnes of highbush blueberries, worth more than $110 million.
  • With a population of more than 1.4 billion, China is one of the fastest-growing economies in the world.
  • Blueberries are Canada's largest fruit export in terms of value and volume.

Quotes

"By continuing to promote Canada's food and agriculture sector as a reliable and safe supplier of choice for Chinese consumers, we are making sure our agriculture industry remains a key driver of the Canadian economy."

- Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz

"This is great news for B.C.'s world-class blueberries. Our government's top priority is to create jobs, growth and long-term prosperity for all Canadians, including British Columbians. This market access win to the most populous country in the world is another example of how our government's pro-trade plan is getting results for Canadian businesses, workers and their families."

- Minister of International Trade Ed Fast

"We were extremely pleased to be in China on the momentous occasion of the protocol signing between Canada and China on fresh blueberry exports. This comes at a time when the demand for fresh Canadian blueberries in China is very high due to the health benefits and quality of our product. We look forward to providing the Chinese consumer with a beneficial Canadian agri-food."

- Debbie Etsell, Executive Director, B.C. Blueberry Council

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Contact Information

  • Jeff English
    Director of Communications
    Office of the Honourable Gerry Ritz
    Minister of Agriculture
    613-773-1059

    Media Relations
    Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
    Ottawa, Ontario
    613-773-7972
    1-866-345-7972
    Follow us on Twitter: @AAFC_Canada

    Max Moncaster
    Press Secretary
    Office of the Honourable Ed Fast
    Minister of International Trade
    343-203-7332

    Media Relations Office
    Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada
    343-203-7700
    media@international.gc.ca
    Follow us on Twitter: @CanadaTrade