Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Add wine to NAFTA negotiations

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer thinks wine should be added to the list of issues negotiated during the North American Free Trade talks that begin this month.

The U.S. has taken British Columbia wine marketing policy to the World Trade Organization, but failed to get Canadians to back down earlier this year.

The U.S. could press ahead to call for a disputes-settling panel to be set up to deal with its complaint that the B.C. government, when it allowed wine sales in grocery stores, ruled that only B.C.-produced wines qualify.

The U.S. argues that all wines ought to be included.

Lighthizer told a congressional committee this month that "in this case it would make more sense to negotiate and do it in a less hostile way" than continuing to pursue it at the World Trade Organization.

The negotiations could have implications for Ontario where the government holds a monopoly on imported wine sales through its Liquor Control Board of Ontario stores.