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Wednesday 26 November 2014

Leaked trade deal threat to Canadian wine

18th August, 2014 by Simon Howland

Canada’s wine industry could face new restrictions within its own borders, if a leaked EU trade deal turns out to be accurate.

Canada leaf flag

The proposals were leaked in a 521-page document in Germany

Based on information released in Germany, an impending trade deal between Canada and the European Union would restrict Canada’s domestic wine sales by limiting the number of privately run outlets selling solely domestic products, according to Canada’s CTV News.

A website in Germany posted the 521 page document alongside claims it is a copy of the impending trade agreement between Canada and the EU.

Should the leaked agreement turn out to be accurate it will see a clampdown on the sales of Canadian wine in Canada, limiting the number of privately run wine outlets in Ontario and BC entitled to sell solely Canadian products.

The document states the number of outlets allowed to sell only Canadian products “shall not exceed 292 in Ontario and 60 in British Columbia.”

According to CTV News the proposed limits have already been reached in both provinces meaning the agreement in its leaked form would see immediate restrictions on opening new Canadian stores selling only Canadian wine.

Canadian winemakers are confused by the agreement and Tyler Dawson, of B.C’s Liberty Wine Merchants argues it makes no sense.

“The irony is strange: a free-trade agreement, and limiting the sale of one country’s domestic product”, he said.

But International trade lawyer Matthew Kronby says if Canada has stores that only sell Canadian wine, but can’t sell EU wine, “that is discriminatory.”

According to the Canadian government, the details are being finalised ahead of a formal signing ceremony next month.

The trade deal, which Prime Minister Stephen Harper has called the biggest in Canadian history, is intended to eliminate virtually all tariffs and many barriers on trade, investment and labour mobility.

One Response to “Leaked trade deal threat to Canadian wine”

  1. Richard Fitoussi says:

    First if negotiated as such; it does represent a constitutional problem to impose any one opening a wine store in Ontario (if at all able to own one outside a winery is closed to impossible) the presence of EU wines or spirits; FREEDOM OF CHOICE! no one can oblige what goes on the shelves in that hypothetical retail store.
    I think the EU is referring to the Loblaws and other chain stores that do lease space to wineries and obliged by provincial regulations to sell only what is produced by the winery.
    Those retail stores are satellites of the wineries, and apparently no more licences are being issued.
    The EU negotiators should be made aware of Provincial laws governing the sale of alcohol, and to be reminded of the exposure of EU wines and distilled products overwhelmingly and advantageously occupies the shelves of government stores and Canadian wines do not represent a threat to EU wineries and distilleries.
    The next point: if the article ( in treaty proposal) applies it could be possible to invoke reciprocation: HOW ABOUT CANADIAN WINES in french wine stores in the same percentage as we do place it on our shelves in Ontario?
    I let you guess the response from the other side.
    In the real world the EU negotiators get their marching orders from the association of wine and spirit exporters, consequently the discussion should begin with them first, and reminding them on how great their products have been represented in Canada. The exporter are also aware that Provincial powers on the distribution and sale of alcohol will never change because it cannot afford the losses of revenues. The same Provincial government, also has help vineyard owners in Ontario to replace concord grape to vitis viniferas at great costs; therefore will not agree to any treaty that disadvantage its own farmers; it would be simply bad politics and stupid.
    Remember we have not seen the Canadian response to this work in progress yet.
    I would be more concern about cheeses and the quota system, that will be a direct attack against the supply management system across the land. Having studied the pricing system in France and here it will hurt on the distribution and manufactured side. DFO should ease the terms of the Artisan Cheese program, to many investors are going in goat and sheep milks instead of cow milk due to the complicated application process demanded by DFO.
    At least here we do not have subsidies and in the EU that is a totally different conversation that has the tendency to be very complicated. Also the treaty or No treaty The EU has an other surprise, a whole arsenal of regulations that forbid cheese makers to use EU restricted name and terminology in the branding of Canadian cheeses and certain term use for wines and distilled products.

    Cheers

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