- Written by Mark Hicken Mark Hicken
- Category: Latest News Latest News
- Published: 18 May 2017 18 May 2017
The U.S. Government, through newly confirmed U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, has started the process of re-negotiating NAFTA by delivering a notification letter to Congress. Talks could begin as early as August. The re-negotiation of NAFTA could have consequences for the BC wine industry because NAFTA has, up until now, included language that allowed BC (and other provinces) to provide preferential treatment for domestic wine to a certain extent. Specifically, an allowance was made for a limited number of "preferential" retail licenses selling only BC wine. This exemption became contentious in the past couple of years when the BC government converted freestanding VQA store licenses to supermarket licenses and also auctioned off additional "BC wine only" supermarket licenses. Those actions prompted a WTO challenge by a number of trade partners including the U.S., the E.U., Australia, New Zealand and Argentina. While wine issues are unlikely to be at the top of a list of NAFTA grievances, it would seem likely that those issues and complaints will now become part of these negotiations.