Australia–Canada wine war resolved by the WTO

Monday, 26 April, 2021

Australia–Canada wine war resolved by the WTO

The trade dispute over wine exports between the Australian and Canadian governments has been settled with help from the World Trade Organization (WTO).

Under the finalised settlement, Canada has agreed to phase out the outstanding trade issues raised at the WTO for the discriminatory measures imposed by the province of Quebec.

Australian Grape & Wine’s Chief Executive Tony Battaglene said the settlement was the last piece of the puzzle that was needed to resolve the dispute after the Australian Government sent its initial challenge to the WTO in 2018.

“The Canadian wine export market is extremely important for Australian wine and it is vital that we work to harmonise trade as much as possible. The market is Australia’s fourth-largest wine export market, valued at more than $190 million in 2020, and it’s certainly a market in which we are pursuing further growth,” he said.

“But we need to be able to compete on a level playing field, and this is why it’s so important to have an independent umpire in the WTO. In this case, the rules-based system provided the opportunity for bilateral dialogue and led to a result which was fair to both Australian producers and their colleagues in Canada.”

There were several issues raised in Australia’s complaint that said laws and regulations discriminate in favour of locally produced Canadian wine and disadvantage imports.

These trading practices, imposed by Canadian provinces British Columbia, Québec, Ontario and Nova Scotia, included issuing higher taxes on imported wine and selling it from different sections within stores.

Image credit: ©Максим Точилкин

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