Australia accuses Canada of discriminating against imported wines

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The Australian government is looking to commence a formal consultation over "Canada's discriminatory measures affecting Australian wine" - namely, restrictions on the sale of imported wine in Canadian grocery stores, as well as extra fees relating to imported wine.

"The Australian wine industry is a big export earner for Australia and helps create".

Minster Ciobo said he would prefer to have resolved the issue bilaterally, but that "it is appropriate to commence dispute proceedings given the lack of progress".

Australia said Wednesday it was taking legal action against Canada at the World Trade Organization over "arbitrary and disadvantageous" restrictions against imported wine, expanding on a similar USA complaint.

The country is New Zealand's fourth-largest market for wine, with $107 million of exports in 2017 - behind only the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia.

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"I want to make sure that I stand up for Aussie wine exporters".

Australia Trade Minister Steven Ciobo said that lodging the complaint was "unrelated" to Canada's surprise last-minute reservations that stalled the Trans Pacific Partnership trade negotiations in Vietnam last November.

An MFAT spokeswoman confirmed New Zealand planned to join Australia's WTO complaint as a third party, while Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker declined to comment. Formal talks with the Canadian Government were requested by Australian authorities yesterday. We respect the Canadian wine industry, but we are seeking a level playing field to ensure we can maximise our opportunities in this key market.

"Canada is Australia's fourth most valuable export market at around $190m and remains a very important destination for Australian wine", Battaglene said. "This system provides a substantial benefit to BC wines".

Similar to the complaint filed by the United States, Australia claimed that rules within the Canadian province of British Columbia, where local wines are sold in grocery shops but imported wines are required to be contained to a "store within a store" with a separate cash register, gave an unfair advantage to local produce. The new Australian-led WTO action addresses these same concerns as well as others across the Canadian provinces.

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