Canada's fisheries minister says a trade deal that would allow the sale of seal meat to China has been postponed.

Keith Ashfield says he travelled to China last week, where he met with his Chinese counterpart — but the deal is still on hold.

The deal was signed in January by Ashfield's predecessor, Gail Shea.

At the time, she said the deal gave Canada access to the world's most populous country and it would breathe new life into Canada's struggling sealing industry.

Ashfield says all technical aspects of the agreement have been dealt with, but the Chinese have asked for a delay.

He did not offer details.

He says Chinese officials are aware of how important the deal is to the Canadian industry, but he can't say how long it will take to resolve the outstanding issues.

However, he says a deal could be reached in time for the annual seal hunt next spring.