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May 28, 2018
U.S. asks WTO to create panel to rule on BC's wine sales policy
The United States notified the World Trade Organization (WTO) Secretariat that it requested the establishment of a dispute settlement panel to examine what it considers "unfair" regulations governing the sale of wine in grocery stores in the province of British Columbia.
The U.S. alleges that the BC regulations discriminate against imported wine by applying different conditions of sale in grocery stores to wine from British Columbia and to imported wine, in contravention of Canada's obligations under the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade.
Under the "wine on shelf" option, a grocery store may sell wine anywhere within the grocery store, but only BC wine may be sold on grocery store shelves.
Imported wine may only be sold in grocery stores under a "store within a store" option. Under the "store within a store" option, wine sales must be conducted in a "wine store" that is physically separated from the grocery store, has controlled access, and has separate cash registers from the grocery store's cash registers.
The United States held consultations with Canada in 2017, but those consultations did not resolve the dispute. Requesting the establishment of a panel is the next step in the WTO dispute settlement process.
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