Spirits Canada Welcomes Canada – Australia Partial Agreement to Resolve Alcohol WTO Dispute
TORONTO, June 27, 2020. Spirits Canada welcomes today’s agreement between the Governments of Canada and Australia related to Australia’s WTO challenge of certain Canadian beverage alcohol policies (DS 537 “Canada – Measure Governing the Sale of Wine”), https://www.canada.ca/en/global-affairs/news/2020/07/canada-reaches-partial-agreement-with-australia-on-wine.html.
“We applaud Minister Ng’s strong commitment to the rules-based international trading system and ensuring Canada and its provinces uphold its international trade commitments and avoid any escalation of this dispute” said Jan Westcott, Spirits Canada, President & CEO.
Spirits Canada also calls on the federal government to repeal its automatic annual escalator increase to federal beverage alcohol excise duties and on all provinces to proactively eliminate similar liquor policy measures as those that were part of Australia’s formal WTO dispute.
“With the elimination of the excise duty exemption for Canadian wine producers it is now more critical than ever for the Government of Canada to repeal the rigid, undemocratic annual increase in beverage alcohol excise duties that is harming hard-working Canadians, local bars and restaurants struggling under the weight of the COVID-19 pandemic and local beer, wine and spirits producers”, added Mr. Westcott.
While Australia identified a select number of discriminatory liquor policies in Nova Scotia, Ontario and Quebec, the reality is that many similar measures are in place in every province and impact all beverage alcohol categories including spirits.
“Provinces should take note of that Australia’s formal WTO challenge was supported by many of Canada’s largest trading partners including the EU and the U.S. and should take the necessary steps to ensure their liquor policies comply with their international trade obligations”, said Westcott.