Newspaper article The Canadian Press

CP: Australia Pressuring Canada in TPP for Greater Wine Access, Citing EU Gains

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

CP: Australia Pressuring Canada in TPP for Greater Wine Access, Citing EU Gains

Article excerpt

Australia pressuring Canada in TPP on wines

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OTTAWA - Australia is pressuring a reluctant Canada to lower trade barriers on its wine industry, pushing for similar concessions that were won by the European Union, The Canadian Press has learned.

An internal memo from the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development says Australia is pushing for greater market access for its wine in Canada as part of the ongoing negotiations of the Trans Pacific Partnership.

Australia is citing gains made by the EU in its comprehensive agreement in principle with Canada -- known by the acronym CETA -- which was announced in late 2013, but is still being finalized.

Canada is pushing back because it doesn't appear to want a repeat of the concessions it offered Europe under CETA in the TPP talks, which includes 12 countries from Asia, the United States, Mexico, Canada and Australia.

The April memo is significant because it sheds light on the opaque nature of the TPP talks, which have faced heavy criticism for being unaccountable to the public.

It also demonstrates something that many analysts have seized on: that the wins and losses in CETA would have implications in other major trade deals.

That includes not only the TPP, but Europe's ongoing free trade talks with the United States.

CETA removed several non-tariff irritants and add-on service fees imposed on European wine and spirits exports. It also eliminated a federal requirement that all imported foreign spirits be blended with Canadian spirits.

"Government of Canada officials have advised B.C. trade officials that certain TPP parties, most notably Australia, are seeking market access treatment on par with the treatment obtained by the EU in CETA," says the April 17 briefing note, stamped "secret," which was prepared for a meeting of senior federal trade officials in Ottawa and their provincial counterparts in British Columbia.

"Canada is actively trying to move TPP parties away from a CETA-like outcome, but continue to face pressure. …

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