Canada-EU labelling agreement
- Monday 15 September 2003
Under the terms of the agreement – to be signed tomorrow by trade minister Pierre S. Pettigrew, and agriculture minister Lyle Vanclief – Canadian wineries will no longer be able to use a range of generic names such as Chablis, Chianti, Mosel, Port, Sherry and Champagne for locally-made products.
Provincial liquor boards will not list any wines so labeled unless they come from the geographic region that historically has produced them.
It has taken five years to hammer out the current agreement. The dispute goes back to 1986 when the EU complained that certain practices violated Canada's treaty obligations by giving tax breaks to Canadian wine over imported products, and allowing the operation of stores selling exclusively Canadian wine while prohibiting European wine stores.
There was some negotiation, but in the late 1990s the EU threatened to take Canada before the World Trade Organization unless Canada agreed to talk further.
Canada will maintain its current liquor distribution system, with winery retail stores and Canadian wine stores.
The agreement will give Canadian products – including Icewine – access to European markets. It also assures European acceptance of Canadian winemaking practices, and validation of the Vintners Quality Alliance (VQA), the country's appellation system.