wine on shelves

EU Joins US Wine Challenge

To Get Wine in BC Grocery Stores

The European Union (EU) has joined the US in challenging BC’s liquor laws, noting that the rule to sell only domestic wine violates international trade principles.

BC currently has 14 grocery stores selling wine on their shelves, but only domestic VQA wines are allowed to be sold. These grocery store licenses were previously owned by the BC Wine Institute and they were sold at an auction conducted by the government.

In January, the US launched a trade enforcement action against Canada at the World Trade Organization, stating that the rule to only sell domestic wine was discriminatory. Those trade laws state that imported goods must be given equal treatment as domestic products.

Imported goods must be given equal treatment as domestic products.

Now the EU is joining the fight, saying that the rules give provincial wine an unfair advantage and the EU has a substantial trade relationship with Canada.

The EU claims that over half of the wines imported to Canada over the past few years came from countries in the union.

Shirley Bond, BC Jobs Minister, says, “We’re confident that we are complying with BC and Canada’s international trade obligations.”

BC’s 200 government liquor stores as well as the province’s 670 private liquor stores all sell wine imported from other provinces in Canada and from around the world.