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Stroh praises U.S./Canada trade accord.

Stroh Brewery Co. praised an announcement Thursday that the United States and Canada have resolved a long-running trade war responsible for driving up the cost of imported beers in both countries.

Under the agreement, the United States agreed to remove the 50 percent tariffs it had imposed last year on beer imported from the Canadian province of Ontario and Canada agreed to scrap similarly high punitive tariffs it had imposed on beer manufactured by Detroit-based Stroh and the G. Heileman Brewing Co.

"The beer war is over," declared Canadian Trade Minister Thomas Hockin, who said the agreement was reached in negotiations that were conducted on the sidelines of talks being held in Washington this week on supplemental accords to the proposed North American Free Trade Agreement.

The dispute has been brewing since 1988 with American beer makers complaining that Canada had erected a variety of barriers to the sale of their products.

In response to a complaint filed by Stroh and Heileman, the United States in July 1992 imposed new 50 percent duties on beer imported from Ontario, saying that province was pursuing particularly discriminatory practices.

The new duty added $3 to the existing 77-cent duty on a case of beer brought into the United States from Ontario.

In retaliation, Canada imposed similar 50 percent duties on imports of the two U.S. companies that brought the complaint.

The Canadian breweries affected were Molson Breweries of Canada Ltd., the Labatt Brewing Co., Sleeman Brewing and Upper Canada Breweries.

At the time, a spokesman for Molson said that the impact would be felt mainly by consumers in Michigan and New York, who received most of their Canadian beer from the Ontario breweries.

Stroh Vice President Chris Sortwell said the brewer "strongly supports the settlement reached by the United States trade representative and appreciates the substantial efforts made on behalf of the U.S. brewing industry."

"We would expect that this new competitive environment will ultimately result in lower average prices for all beer brands in Canada," Sortwell said.

Beer prices will fall in Ontario, and eventually across Canada, as a result of the deal, Sortwell said.

U.S. Trade Representative Mickey Kantor said the agreement reached with Canada would provide U.S. breweries with the "access and ability to compete in ... Ontario and other provincial markets."

"A settlement has been reached that will enable both sides to put behind us what has been a very difficult and protracted dispute," Kantor said.

U.S. officials said a memorandum of understanding signed by the two countries would eliminate what the United States had viewed as discriminatory practices in Ontario and other Canadian provinces. U.S. officials said that, among other things, American brewers will be able to sell their products through Ontario's private retail beer stores.

As a result of the settlement, both the United States and Canada said they would immediately remove the penalty tariffs.
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Title Annotation:Stroh Brewery Co.
Publication:Modern Brewery Age
Date:Aug 23, 1993
Previous Article:Import overview.
Next Article:NY microbrewers overcome legislative hurdles to lower licensing fees.

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