A long-running trade dispute between Canada and Australia has come to an end. As various online media report, an agreement has been reached in mediation. The Canadian province of Quebec was the last in Canada to impose restrictions on the sale of Australian wine. The wines were not regularly offered on the shelves like domestic wines but were placed in a shop-in-shop in supermarkets. In addition, there were, for example, higher levies for the imported wines. These regulations are now to be gradually lifted so that Australian wines are sold under the same conditions as Canadian wines.
Canada is Australia's fourth largest export market for wine with a value of about US$151 million and a volume of 6 million litres. For Australia, the step is particularly important against the background of the trade dispute with China. To compensate for the losses there, Australia is currently actively expanding its sales efforts in other markets.
Tony Battaglene, Chief Executive of Australian Grape & Wine, said: "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."
Battaglene added: "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.”
In 2018, Australia brought the case to the WTO to challenge the restrictions in place at the federal level and in the provinces of British Columbia, Ontario, Quebec and Nova Scotia. The first results were achieved in 2019, when the restrictions were lifted in British Columbia, and in 2020 at the federal level and in Nova Scotia and Ontario. aw