On January 12, 2018, Australia brought a historical first WTO trade dispute against Canada. The request for consultations alleges that the Canadian Government and the Canadian provinces of British Columbia (“B.C.”), Ontario, Quebec and Nova Scotia discriminated against imported Australian wine by maintaining discriminatory trade measures governing the sale of wine. The alleged discriminatory measures include: distribution areas, licensing and sales measures (i.e., product mark-ups), market access and listing policies, and duties and taxes applied at the federal and provincial level. Pursuant to WTO rules, the parties have 60 days to settle the dispute after which time Australia may request adjudication before a WTO panel.
Australian exports of bottled wine to Canada declined by nearly half between 2007 and 2016. Australia Trade Minister Steven Ciobo discussed the request for consultations and Australian wine