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Canada-U.S. trade talks to resume soon.

Canada and the U.S. are likely to resume talks soon aimed at resolving their longstanding beer trade dispute, Canadian and Ontario government officials said. "I think we have an extremely attractive package to offer the Americans," said Ontario minister of consumer and commercial relations Marilyn Churley after a meeting with federal trade minister Michael Wilson. "We're optimistic that we can reach a solution," she said.

The dispute involves, among other things, an Ontario warehousing charge on U.S. beer imports and an environmental levy of 10 cents (Canadian) on each aluminum can of beer. Most U.S. imports are sold in cans while Canadian beer is sold mainly in bottles.

The U.S., in retaliation to Ontario's move, levied last year a $3.00 (U.S.) import duty on each 24-bottle case of beer from the province. Canada responded by imposing a 50 percent tariff on imports of beer shipped by G. Heileman Brewing Co. and Stroh Brewing Co. to Ontario. Heileman and Stroh have been leading the fight in the U.S. for greater access.

Ontario has refused to budge on the environmental levy, claiming they are consistent with the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade.

However, Churley said Canada's proposed offer will "make it clear that U.S. beer imports are welcome in Ontario and that they'll be treated the same as Canadian suppliers." At the same time, she said, "we'll expect our foreign suppliers to respect Ontario's business environment," she said.

Wilson said the negotiations will be aimed at finding a middle ground between the U.S. and Ontario positions.
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Publication:Modern Brewery Age
Date:May 17, 1993
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