The Governments of Canada and Australia have reached an understanding concerning certain measures in the World Trade Organization dispute, Canada – Measures Governing the Sale of Wine. This agreement will see Nova Scotia phase out a markup policy applied to wine from emerging wine regions, including Nova Scotia.
In January 2018, Australia filed a complaint against various measures of Canada, Ontario, Quebec and Nova Scotia in relation to Canada’s commitments under the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade 1994. At any stage during the dispute settlement process, parties can settle the dispute by finding a mutually agreed solution.
The Government of Nova Scotia worked closely with the Government of Canada to defend the Nova Scotia Liquor Corporation’s Emerging Wine Regions Policy as being fully consistent with Canada’s international trade obligations. Notwithstanding its confidence in the defence of the policy, the province has decided to end years of litigation with an important trading partner through the NSLC’s transition away from the policy. The policy must be phased out over the next four years.
“We are fortunate to have a unique climate and talented winemakers producing world-class products in Nova Scotia,” said Agriculture Minister Keith Colwell. “Government is working with industry to build on its success, and to find ways that balance the interests of our local industry while being compatible with Canada’s trade obligations.”
The province will collaborate with the local wine industry in this transition.
Government takes its trade obligations seriously. We stand by our position that the Emerging Wine Regions Policy is origin neutral and, to date, no international body has ruled against the NSLC. That said, Australia is an important trading partner for Canada and prolonged litigation means uncertainty for our industry.
Geoff MacLellan, Minister responsible for Trade
-- in 2019, domestic sales revenue for Nova Scotia farm wineries was $21 million, supporting more than 500 jobs