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Association toasts new free trade agreement


Toronto – Restaurants Canada says the new Canada Free Trade Agreement announced on April 7 is more inclusive.

The old agreement dealt with only a few select sectors, while the new agreement includes most sectors, Restaurants Canada said in a news release. However, beer, wine and spirits are still excluded, which maintains the biggest internal trade barriers and significantly drives up costs for the restaurant industry, according to the association.

“We appreciate that Federal Minister Navdeep Bains acknowledges the challenges restaurants face due to provincial alcohol monopolies,” said Joyce Reynolds, Restaurants Canada’s executive vice-president of government affairs. “It makes no sense that restaurants have to pay more for a bottle of wine from a neighbouring province and have less selection, than someone purchasing it from outside the country.”

The association said it is encouraged that a provincial working group has been established to make recommendations to liberalize alcohol trade in Canada within the year.

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“We hope the provinces are truly committed to putting their protectionist approaches to alcohol aside, and will honour the intent of the CFTA,” Reynolds said. “At that time, restaurants will applaud this free trade agreement.”