Canada Levels Playing Field for Australian Winemakers

August 10, 2020

The Australian wine industry is celebrating the removal of discriminatory regulations in Canada that unfairly targeted Australian wine.

Canada is Australia’s fourth largest wine export destination, importing 74 million litres of wine in 2018 alone. These exports enjoyed zero tariff entry as part of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).

However, according to Australian Trade Minister, Simon Birmingham, “Discriminatory measures have disadvantaged our wine exporters in Canada for a number of years now.”

Canadian wine producers have benefited from tax exemptions and sales targets for local wine. Mandatory mark-ups on wine imports have further hindered the ability of Australian wine producers to compete in Canada.

Additional regulations restricted access to retail shelf space for imported wines. They also confined Australian wine displays to the back of store premises, basements and locked cabinets.

“Removing these trade barriers will mean our wine exporters can now compete on a level playing field with Canadian wine producers,” Birmingham said.

The elimination of trade barriers follows an initiated dispute action with the World Trade Organisation (WTO) in January 2018. The dispute action addresses measures impacting Australian wine at a federal level and in four provinces: British Columbia, Ontario, Nova Scotia, and Quebec.

In April 2019, Canada removed restrictions impeding Australian wine sales in British Columbia. Now, they have withdrawn several regulations at both a federal and provincial level in Ontario and Nova Scotia.

Australia will continue negotiations with Quebec on the remaining disputed regulations.

While the full agreement is yet to be released, Australian Grape and Wine has summarised the key outcomes of negotiations. The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFAT) also publishes regular updates on the Measures Governing the Sale of Wine (DS537) WTO dispute.

For further information, or to export to Canada, contact our accredited export specialists at 1800 727 195.