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July 31, 2018
WTO will create panel to rule on U.S. complaint on BC's wine sales policy
At the request of the United States, the Dispute Settlement Body (DSB) of the World Trade Organization (WTO) agreed to establish a dispute panel to address measures governing the sale of wine in Canada.
During the last meeting of the DSB the United States reiterated that it had serious concerns with regulations in the Canadian province of British Columbia (BC) governing the sale of wine in grocery stores.
The U.S. said the BC regulations exclude all imported wine from grocery store shelves, an important retail channel for wine sales in the province, and were inconsistent with WTO non-discrimination rules.
The U.S. claims the restrictions limit sales opportunities for US wine in Canada and provide a substantial competitive advantage for BC wines.
Canada noted that imported wines account for around 90% of all wine sales in Canada and that there were almost a thousand points of sale for imported wine in BC alone. Nevertheless, Canada said it was prepared to defend the measures before a panel.
The proceedings will begin once the panelists have been chosen.
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