The B.C. government recently paid for a full page ad in a Vancouver newspaper asking British Columbians to support their province’s wine industry amid the ongoing dispute with Alberta.
But did that ad break free trade rules?
UBC professor and trade expert John Ries said the government-paid ad could be seen as a subsidy, but it’s not really breaking the rules.
He also said the chances of a country bringing it up for a dispute resolution with NAFTA or the Word Trade Organization (WTO) are slim.
“A subsidy has to cause a threat of material injury in the complainant country, and I don’t think the B.C. wine industry is big enough to cause material injury,” he said.
Ries said B.C.’s wine industry isn’t a big enough player in countries like Chile or the U.S. to even notice.
He added that if anyone has a bone to pick with the ad, it will be Alberta.
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