Canada drops wine beef with Australia

·1-min read

Australia and Canada have put a cork in a long-running trade dispute over wine with restrictions set to be dropped on bottles from Down Under.

Quebec was the last remaining province with the unfair measures, which included putting Australian wines into a "store within a store" in supermarkets while local tipples were on regular shelves.

Under a settlement through the global trade umpire, restrictions will be phased out allowing Australian products to compete on a level playing field with Canadian drops.

Other restrictions included loopholes, extra taxes and mark-ups on imported wine.

Australia first challenged the measures in the World Trade Organisation in 2018.

The restrictions affected wine at a federal level and in the provinces of British Columbia, Ontario, Quebec and Nova Scotia.

Settlements were reached for every jurisdiction except Quebec between April 2019 and July last year.

Canada is Australia's fourth-largest export market for wine worth more than $192 million.

The industry copped a crushing blow earlier in the year when China - its biggest export market - confirmed punitive tariffs on the commodity for five years.

South Australia, which accounts for 70 per cent of exports, has promised to aggressively target markets in Canada, the UK and the US to buffer lost sales in China.

Australia has not ruled out taking China to the WTO in a similar process to challenging Canada.

Trade Minister Dan Tehan said the government would continue to work within a rules-based trading system to resolve disputes in a respectful matter.

"Our success demonstrates the strength of the WTO dispute settlement system and underlines why Australia is working to reform the organisation to keep it relevant," he said in a statement.