US revives trade dispute over Canadian wine

A vineyard worker for a Napa Valley winemaker, Hill Family Estate, looks at a tractor trimming grapevine branches on June 4, 2012 in California. Image copyright AFP
Image caption Sales of US wine in Canada hit a record in 2016

The US has moved to revive a trade dispute with Canada over what it says are unfair limits on the sale of imported wine.

The World Trade Organisation circulated the new complaint - which focuses on wine sales in the province of British Columbia - on Monday.

It adds to a growing list of trade fights between the US and Canada, including over plane maker Bombardier.

It also comes amid amid tense negotiations over the Nafta trade deal.

Some in Canada interpreted the move as a negotiating tactic related to those talks on the North American Free Trade Agreement.

President Donald Trump has also attacked Canadian policies related to its dairy and softwood lumber industries.

The US last week said it would put tariffs of more than 200% on C-Series jets made by Bombardier in response to what it said were unfair Canadian subsidies for the plane maker.

'Store within a store'

The wine complaint targets rules that Canada's westernmost province adopted in 2015 allowing wine sales in grocery stores.

Under the rules, wine from British Columbia can be sold anywhere in the shop, but imported wine must be sold in a "store within a store" with a separate cash register.

The Obama administration lodged a similar complaint with the World Trade Organisation before he left office.

Major wine-makers including Argentina, New Zealand and the European Union joined the consultation but there had been no new filings in the case for months.

Canada is the second largest international market for US wine after the European Union, according to the Wine Institute, an industry group. It said sales of US wine in Canada reached a record last year.