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Alberta challenges trade panel’s ruling on beer tax

The Alberta government says it will challenge a ruling on the province's beer tax by an interprovincial trade panel.
The Alberta government says it will challenge a ruling on the province's beer tax by an interprovincial trade panel. The Associated Press

Alberta is challenging a ruling that found its incentive program on beer sales violates interprovincial free-trade obligations.

Finance Minister Joe Ceci said the government is appealing last month’s decision by a national internal trade panel.

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Ceci said the province will argue that its small brewers development program meets required trade obligations.

He said in a statement that Alberta runs the most open liquor market in Canada and 18 new breweries have opened since incentives began a year ago.

The trade panel, in a 2-1 decision, ruled that rebates given only to Alberta brewers discriminate against out-of-province beers sold in the province.

READ MORE: Alberta beer-tax court challenge pushed to September

The action was filed by Calgary-based Artisan Ales, which imports beer and said the government’s program has had a devastating effect on sales.