U.S. files second trade complaint over B.C. wine in grocery stores

Issue of selling wine, beer and spirits in Canada has been a flashpoint for American producers

As dairy products, Bombardier aircraft and softwood lumber continue to bedevil trade relations between Canada and the U.S., negotiators will have to add wine to their list of issues to resolve.

The U.S. has filed a second complaint with the World Trade Organization over what it perceives as B.C.’s unfair rules regarding wine sales in the province’s grocery stores, according to a release from the WTO.

In the complaint, the U.S. argues that local wines have an unfair advantage in B.C. due to the province’s rules that ban imported wine from grocery store shelves.

The rules dictate that imported products are relegated to a “store-within-a-store” model, separate from B.C. products and therefore appear discriminatory and inconsistent with a WTO agreement, according to the complaint.

READ: Canadian wine is on NAFTA negotiating table

The U.S. first raised the issue in January, but according to the WTO website no dispute panel was established and they were not notified of either a solution or withdrawal by the parties.

“British Columbia’s discriminatory regulations continue to be a serious problem for U.S. winemakers,” United States Trade Representative spokeswoman Amelia Breinig said in an email. ”USTR is requesting new consultations to ensure that we can reach a resolution that provides U.S. wine exporters fair and equal access in British Columbia.”

The B.C. Ministry of Jobs, Trade and Technology and The Office of the United States Trade Representative did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The province’s previous trade minister, Shirley Bond, said the government will defend the industry against the challenge when it was first issued in January.

The issue of selling wine, beer and spirits in Canada has been a flashpoint for American producers for some time.

The U.S. government’s annual report on trade barriers highlights restrictions on listings, cost-of-service mark-ups, maximum or minimum price points, distribution policies, labelling requirements and making suppliers discount their prices to meet sales targets as areas of concern.

The report said the U.S. government is reviewing the situation in Ontario, where about 70 grocery stores are now allowed to sell both domestic and imported wine, under certain conditions that include country of origin.

It also suggested a recent move to allow Quebec wine to be sold in Quebec grocery stores could give craft wineries an unfair advantage.

The Canadian Press

Just Posted

LETTER: Disrespectful behaviour not a reality

During the entire Banks Crescent section of the meeting, there was not a whisper from the crowd

Outbreak affects eight people in Vernon

UPDATE: Gastrointestinal illness reported at Vernon Jubilee Hospital

LETTER: Concept image doesn’t show reality

A Banks Crescent concept image used in the Review doesn’t show the trees and background

Letter: Arguments are unsubstantiated

An open letter to the Summerlanders for sensible development group

LETTER: Solly does not meet requirements for collector road

If an attempt to make Solly a collector road is made, it will cost a lot more than $1.2 million

Me Too At Work: Sexual assault and harassment in the B.C. workplace

Introducing an in-depth look at who is affected and what can be done

Bomb detonated in Kamloops neighbourhood

Kamloops RCMP are investigating after an improvised explosive device was detonated Wednesday morning

No More Shootouts: Strong defence will be Canada’s backbone at world juniors

Head coach doesn’t want a situation where a hot goalie or a lucky bounce can determine a team’s fate

‘Assemble your own meal’ kits grow into $120M industry in Canada

Kits offer a middle ground between eating out and grocery shopping

Millennials closing in as B.C.’s biggest wine drinkers

Generation X leads the way in current consumption of B.C. wine, as more wine drinkers are enjoying local varietals

Canadians lag behind Americans in giving to charity

Only one-in-five Canadians donated to charities in 2017

B.C. children adoption rates lagging, despite increased funding: watchdog

More than 1,000 children are still waiting to be adopted, new report shows

Hurdles ahead for Sicamous off-road vehicle bylaw

RCMP, ICBC and province not yet on-board with district

FortisBC to lower natural gas rates in 2018

Rate changes to impact the Lower Mainland, Kootenays, Interior and Vancouver Island

Most Read