Federal Industry Minister James Moore believes P.E.I.'s economy would be better off if trade barriers within Canada were dropped.

Industry Minister James Moore

Minister of Industry James Moore says small business on P.E.I. could benefit from free trade between provinces. (Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press)

Moore estimates the Canadian economy is losing as much as $50 billion a year in lost productivity due to interprovincial trade barriers. Allowing freer trade would lower prices, increase business opportunities and offer consumers more choice, he said.

"Barriers that have larger consequence are the barriers that are just dumb, and indeed even hurt small business," said Moore, noting in particular that wineries, such as those on P.E.I., could benefit.

"We have world-class award-winning wines that are produced all across this country and we can't sell it to our own citizens and yet we can freely sell it to other parts of the world, and things like that make no sense whatsoever."

P.E.I. Premier Robert Ghiz said he doesn't have a lot to say about internal trade right now, but he's open to next month's discussion at the Council of the Federation in Charlottetown.

British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan just agreed to freer trade between their provinces, but Alberta is not allowing direct-to-consumer wine sales under that new deal.

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