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Saskatchewan wins challenge against Quebec over sale of certain dairy products

REGINA - Saskatchewan has won a trade challenge against Quebec over the sale of certain margarines, coffee whiteners and dessert toppings in the Quebec market.

A dispute resolution panel under the pan-Canadian Agreement on Internal Trade says Quebec's restrictions on the production, sale and marketing of vegetable-oil-based dairy products go against some rules.

Saskatchewan — with support from the governments of Alberta, British Columbia and Manitoba — had argued before the panel in January that the restrictions were illegal under rules that prohibit governments from creating barriers to interprovincial trade.

Tim McMillan, Saskatchewan minister responsible for Trade, says the decision will give his province's oilseed producers full access to the Quebec market.

"We are Canada's largest producer of oilseeds," McMillan said Wednesday at the legislature in Regina.

"We ship our commodities around the world and having the stepping stone within Canada is the first step before we can expand broader and Quebec is a quarter of Canada's market."

The Quebec government is appealing the ruling — something that could take up to seven months.

But McMillan says he's confident the ruling will stand.

"I've read through the panel's decision. It was very clear and based on precedent that was quite clear as well," he said.

The Canadian Press

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