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CETA Not Likely to Affect BC Wine Industry

Some recent media reports have speculated, based on leaked text, that the trade agreement between Canada and the EU (the Comprehensive Economic & Trade Agreement, more commonly referred to as CETA) may affect or restrict the BC wine industry (see: Canada\’s Wine Industry May Face Restrictions). It is not possible to comment with certainty until such time as the official text of the agreement is made public. However, based on my reading of the leaked text, it is unlikely that CETA will have any significant effect upon the BC wine industry. The media reports focused on the fact that CETA may limit the number of private outlets that sell wine. In respect of BC, the supposed limit is set at 60 of such stores. However, this restriction only applies to stores that sell exclusively Canadian wine (in BC, these are the VQA stores and a smaller number of tourist wine stores). The limit does not apply to the vast majority of BC\’s private liquor stores which sell a range of products from various countries. The limit of 60 is, in fact, considerably greater than the number of such stores that are currently operating (which is about 20). As such, CETA preserves the existing exclusive distribution channels for domestic wine in these private retail stores and it also preserves the ability of wineries to sell from their own tasting rooms (direct delivery). As a result, there appear to be very few effects on the BC wine industry. CETA may, in fact, provide benefits to BC wineries that use European products in their manufacturing processes as any Canadian tariffs on those products will be removed. Some media outlets correctly reported that there will likely be little effect: see Leaked Document of Canada EU Trade Deal. And see this previous article on the trade agreement.

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