On Friday, the World Trade Organization agreed to investigate the U.S. Trade Representative’s dispute complaint over Canada’s retail wine sale restrictions. Current regulations in Canada ban imported wines from store shelves in British Columbia. It was that issue that Robert Lighthizer took issue with. If the United States prevails in this dispute, Canada will have to roll back its retail wine restrictions.
Senator Maria Cantwell says such a move would benefit Washington wine producers.
“Canada is a top market for Washington wines, and today’s announcement is a significant step forward in allowing our world-class wines to reach consumers in British Columbia,” Cantwell said. “Fair and open access to the Canadian market will further support the Washington wine industry’s critical contributions to our state’s economy.”
From here the U.S. and Canada will name experts to a dispute resolution panel, which will determine the legality of British Columbia’s retail wine regulations and issue a report.
The process may take a year or more.
With more than $10 million in exports in 2017, Canada is Washington state’s number one export market for wine. Wine in Washington boosts more than 900 wineries, supports more than 25,900 jobs, and generates $1.8 billion in revenue and $4.8 billion in total economic impact.
If you have a story idea for the Washington Ag Network, call (509) 547-1618, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org