Skip to main content

The Globe and Mail

U.S. takes Canada to WTO over wine retailing

Staff members walk past a statue entitled "Peace" made in 1925 by Swiss artist Luc Jaggi at the entrance of the World Trade Organization (WTO) headquarters in Geneva.

DENIS BALIBOUSE/REUTERS

The United States has kept trade friction with Canada simmering by filing a new version of a trade complaint over Canadian wine retailing, a document published by the World Trade Organization showed on Monday.

Trade relations, already frayed by U.S. President Donald Trump's plans to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), took a nosedive last week when the U.S. Commerce Department slapped anti-subsidy duties on Bombardier Inc's CSeries jets.

The new WTO complaint reheats a dispute that the United States launched in January, days before Trump took office, challenging Canada over rules for wine retailing in grocery stores in the province of British Columbia.

Story continues below advertisement

The text of the new complaint, dated Sept. 28 and circulated among WTO members on Monday, was unchanged from the version in January except for some changes to reflect updates of Canadian regulations.

The United States never pursued the January complaint at the WTO. By submitting a fresh version, it has effectively restarted the clock on the dispute process, giving Canada 60 days to settle out of court or face litigation.

The complaint accuses Canada of breaking WTO rules by giving unfair advantage to wine from British Columbia (BC) because the province's wine gets exclusive access to a retail channel on grocery store shelves, cutting out U.S. competitors.

"The BC measures appear to discriminate on their face against imported wine by allowing only BC wine to be sold on regular grocery store shelves while imported wine may be sold in grocery stores only through a so-called 'store within a store'," the U.S. complaint said.

NDP demands government action over U.S. Bombardier duties (The Canadian Press)
Report an error
Comments

The Globe invites you to share your views. Please stay on topic and be respectful to everyone. For more information on our commenting policies and how our community-based moderation works, please read our Community Guidelines and our Terms and Conditions.

We’ve made some technical updates to our commenting software. If you are experiencing any issues posting comments, simply log out and log back in.

Discussion loading… ✨