Australia Joins WTO Challenge Over BC Grocery Wine

Australia has now joined the WTO challenge regarding BC's grocery store wine sales model. The number of regions in the challenge now numbers five: the United States, the European Union, New Zealand, Argentina and Australia. Canada has accepted the requests of these counties to join the challenge. Details are on the WTO site.

Argentina Joins WTO Challenge to BC Grocery Wine Sales

Argentina has now joined the United States, the European Union and New Zealand in their challenge to the BC government's grocery store wine sales model. The challenge relates to the implementation of grocery store wine sales that allow 100% BC wine to be sold on regular grocery shelves but which requires that any imported wine be sold in a separate "store within a store". To date, no grocery stores have opened the latter sales model while the former model is rolling out slowly across the province. This topic will be discussed further at Tuesday's Wine Law Conference in Vancouver. Additional analysis of the challenge was featured in this Vancouver Sun article by Karen Graham.

EU and New Zealand Join WTO Dispute Over BC Grocery Wine

The European Union and New Zealand have now both formally requested to join the WTO dispute, initiated recently by the U.S., regarding the BC wine in grocery model (which permits the sale of only BC wine on regular grocery store shelves). See here for details. This trade topic has now been added to the agenda of the Wine Law Conference, to be held next Tuesday in Vancouver.

BC's New Liquor Laws Now Effective

Businesses involved in the wine industry in British Columbia should take note that BC's new Liquor Control & Licensing Act and associated Regulation became effective on January 23, 2017. Links to the new statute and regulation are contained on this page of the LCLB's new web site: Legislation and Regulation. To support the new Act & Regs, the LCLB has also released new Terms & Conditions Guides for licensees. The new guide for wineries is here: Manufacturer's TAC Guide. There are also new guides for other categories of licensee here: TAC Guides

These new laws will be the subject of sessions at the upcoming BC Wine & Liquor Law Conference, to be held in Vancouver on February 14th. Wine industry attendees can obtain a reduced registration fee by changing the rate on the registration page to "wine industry rate". 

U.S. Launches Trade Action Against BC Wine Grocery Model

The United States Trade Representative has announced this morning that the Obama administration has launched a trade enforcement action at the WTO against BC's wine in grocery store model. The details of the challenge are contained in this press release: United States Challenges Canadian Trade Measures That Discriminate Against U.S. Wine. The basis of the action is that BC's "regular shelves" grocery model discriminates against imported wines by allowing the sale of BC wines on regular grocery shelves but only permitting the sale of imported wines in a separate "store within a store" model. We will provide an update on this issue at the upcoming Wine & Liquor Law Conference in Vancouver on February 14th.