This summary has been prepared by the Secretariat under its own responsibility. The summary is for general information only and is not intended to affect the rights and obligations of Members.
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Summary of the dispute to date
The summary below was up-to-date at
Complaint by Australia
On 12 January 2018, Australia requested consultations with Canada concerning measures maintained by the Canadian Government and the Canadian provinces of British Columbia, Ontario, Quebec, and Nova Scotia governing the sale of wine. This request for consultations follows earlier requests for consultations submitted by the United States (DS520 and DS531) pertaining to measures maintained by the Canadian province of British Columbia governing the sale of wine in grocery stores.
Australia claimed that the measures appear to be inconsistent with:
- Articles III:1, III:2, III:4, XVII:1 and XXIV:12 of the GATT 1994.
On 17 January 2018, New Zealand requested to join the consultations. On 19 January 2018, the United States requested to join the consultations. On 25 January 2018, Argentina and the European Union requested to join the consultations. On 26 January 2018, Chile requested to join the consultations. Subsequently, Canada informed the DSB that it had accepted the requests of Argentina, Chile, the European Union, New Zealand and the United States to join the consultations.
Panel and Appellate Body proceedings
On 13 August 2018, Australia requested the establishment of a panel. At its meeting on 27 August 2018, the DSB deferred the establishment of a panel.
At its meeting on 26 September 2018, the DSB established a panel. Argentina, Chile, China, the European Union, India, Israel, Korea, Mexico, New Zealand, the Russian Federation, South Africa, Chinese Taipei, Ukraine, the United States and Uruguay reserved their third-party rights.
On 25 February 2019, Australia requested the Director-General to compose the panel. On 7 March 2019, the Director-General composed the panel.On 24 April 2019, further to paragraph 2(5) of the panel’s Working Procedures, the Chair of the panel requested the DSB in separate communications to circulate to Members the panel’s Working Procedures as well as a partial timetable.
On 7 May 2019, further to paragraph 2(5) of the panel’s Working Procedures, the Chair of the Panel requested the DSB to circulate to Members the additional Working Procedures on open panel meetings adopted by the panel.
On 12 June 2019, further to paragraph 2(5) of the panel’s Working Procedures, the Chair of the Panel requested the DSB to circulate to Members the additional Working Procedures on business confidential information adopted by the panel.
On 25 July 2019, 28 August 2019, 9 March 2020, and on 10 June 2020, the Chair of the panel requested the DSB to circulate separate communications indicating changes to the timetable.
On 21 August 2019, the Chair of the panel informed the DSB that the panel expected to issue its final report to the parties in the first half of 2020. The Chair also informed the DSB that the report would be available to the public once it was circulated to the Members in all three official languages, and that the date of circulation depends on completion of translation.
On 29 May 2020, Australia and Canada informed the DSB that they had agreed to Procedures for Arbitration under Article 25 of the DSU in this dispute. Such procedures were entered into by Australia and Canada to give effect to the communication JOB/DSB/1/Add.12 (“Multi-Party Interim Appeal Arbitration Arrangement Pursuant To Article 25 Of The DSU (MPIA)”) and with the objective of setting a framework for an Arbitrator to decide on any appeal of any final panel report issued in this dispute.
On 30 July 2020, the Chair of the panel requested the DSB to circulate an amendment to the panel's Working Procedures reflecting the transition from the Digital Dispute Settlement Registry (DDSR) to the Disputes Online Registry Application (DORA) system as from 1 August 2020.
On 8 April 2021, the Chair of the panel informed the DSB that as of July 2020, it had accepted several joint requests by the parties to delay the issuance of its interim report in order to allow the parties to find a mutually agreed solution. The Chair of the panel indicated that on 6 April 2021, the panel accepted the parties' latest request, dated 31 March 2021, to further postpone the issuance of the interim report, pending an update on progress of the status of the parties' discussions by 30 April 2021. The Chair of the panel apprised the DSB that the panel was therefore not in a position to give an estimate of the period within which it would issue its report.
Mutually Agreed Solution
On 22 April 2021, the parties jointly informed the Panel that they had reached a mutually agreed solution regarding Australia's claim with respect to the Quebec measures on the sale of wine and that, as a result of that agreement, Australia and Canada considered that the matters raised in this dispute had been resolved.
On 12 May 2021, Australia and Canada notified the DSB that they had reached a mutually agreed solution concerning the federal and provincial measures at issue.
On 25 May 2021, the panel circulated its report to the Members. In accordance with Article 12.7 of the DSU, the panel report was confined to a brief description of the case and to reporting that a solution has been reached.
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