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Local wine in B.C. grocery stores violates trade rules

International wines must be allowed in supermarkets, says American group

Many British Columbia grocers will be thrilled that, come April, they will be allowed to sell wine in their stores.

One group that won’t be toasting the occasion, however, is the U.S.-based Wine Institute, which represents more than 1,000 California wineries.

It’s not happy because only B.C. wines will be allowed for sale in grocery stores. That, the group says, violates the North American Free Trade Agreement.

The Wine Institute has sent a letter to B.C. Premier Christy Clark demanding that grocers be allowed to sell international wines or none at all.

According to a NAFTA expert, quoted in the Globe & Mail, the Wine Institute has a case.

“This looks like a classic example of a non-tariff barrier that would essentially discriminate against a product from another NAFTA member,” Max Cameron, a political science professor at the University of British Columbia, said.

California represents more than 90% of American wine production and the U.S. is the largest wine importer to British Columbia, according to the Wine Institute.

Read the full story here.

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