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December 2, 2003

CANADA: Unilever asks Supreme Court to hear Quebec margarine colour case

Unilever Canada, the Canadian arm of Anglo-Dutch consumer products giant Unilever, has said it has asked the country’s Supreme Court to hear its arguments for a repeal of Quebec’s margarine colour law.

Unilever Canada, the Canadian arm of Anglo-Dutch consumer products giant Unilever, has said it has asked the country’s Supreme Court to hear its arguments for a repeal of Quebec’s margarine colour law.


Currently, margarine sold in Quebec must be white, a regulation that helps protect the area’s dairy producers, reported Dow Jones News.


Unilever challenged the regulation in 1997 by importing yellow margarine into the province. In 1999, the Quebec Superior Court dismissed the provincial government’s arguments that the rule was necessary to prevent consumer confusion, but did not repeal the law. This ruling was later upheld by the Quebec Court of Appeal.


Unilever Canada has now said that it will argue that Quebec does not have the authority to enforce regulations “solely for the purpose” of protecting its own dairy industry, Dow Jones reported.


The company also said it will argue that the regulation contravenes the North American Free Trade Agreement, World Trade Organisation rules and the Agreement on Internal Trade.

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