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Australia Challenges Canada's 'Discriminatory' Wine Taxes

by Mary Swire, Tax-News.com, Hong Kong

18 January 2018


The Australian Government has initiated formal WTO dispute settlement action against Canada, alleging it had adopted discriminatory measures against Australian wine.

The World Trade Organization said Australia "claims that a range of distribution, licensing, and sales measures such as product mark-ups, market access, and listing policies, as well as duties and taxes on wine applied at the federal and provincial level [in Canada], appear to discriminate against imported wine, in violation of the WTO's General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade 1994."

According to a statement on Australian Trade Minister Steven Ciobo's website, the Australian Government believes the measures "impose arbitrary and disadvantageous restrictions on the sale of imported wine in Canadian grocery stores, inconsistent with Canada's WTO obligations."

"While it would have been preferable to resolve this issue bilaterally, it is appropriate to commence dispute proceedings given the lack of progress," the statement added.

The statement explained that the action was initiated in response to concerns raised by the Australian wine industry. Canada is Australia's fourth-largest export market for wine, currently valued at AUD185m (USD147.6m).

TAGS: tax | tariffs | World Trade Organisation (WTO) | Australia | food | licensing | trade disputes | Canada | import duty | trade

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