Canada says "Ouch!" to latest policy move by USA

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BC vineyards w lake.JPG

Vineyards in the Okanagan Valley of British Columbia

The bureaucrats in Washington, DC, don't have anything better to do, so they're claiming (again) that Canadian wine laws are hurting the USA.

"Discriminatory regulations implemented by British Columbia are unfairly keeping U.S. wine off of grocery store shelves," says the US Trade Representative Robert Lightheizer, "and that is unacceptable."

"Canada is an important market for U.S. winemakers," says the Secretary of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue. US wine exports to British Columbia totaled $56 million in 2017, giving it a 10$% market share, according to figures included in the statement.

Lighthizer and Perdue are taking aim at a rule that prevents non-B.C. wine from being sold on grocery store shelves, relegating such products to a separate "store-within-a-store" with a separate cash register.

Well, no, says the BC Wine Institute. First of all, the actual number (US market share) is over 14%. Imports total almost 70 percent of BC wine sales.

US wine accounts for a $468 million trade surplus with British Columbia, according to BC Wine Institute CEO Miles Prodan. "The $450 million surplus is calculated as total US export value to Canada in a CVA import/export analysis in 2016 of $503.9 million less the total Canadian export value to the US in 2016 of $53.3 million is $450 million (this is for both bulk and bottled). $503.9 - $53.3 = $450.6 million."

Since NAFTA was implemented, US wine exports to Canada have tripled.

The problem, though, seems to be BC's archaic liquor laws. The province has a complete monopoly on wine sales, and BC liquor stores segregate imported wines. US trade reps call that discrimination against the US, which it certainly seems to be. But the last time this was brought up, the issue was quietly shelved. Grocery store shelves, in fact.

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This page contains a single entry by Cornichon published on May 25, 2018 4:00 PM.

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