`Europe Affirms Market Won't Be Affected by Duty-Free Olive Oil from Tunisia - Olive Oil Times

Europe Affirms Market Won't Be Affected by Duty-Free Olive Oil from Tunisia

Feb. 29, 2016
Erin Ridley

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Last September, the European Commission pro­posed an emer­gency mea­sure to increase Tunisia’s zero-duty tar­iff quota of olive oil. Now, as the mea­sure is pend­ing immi­nent for­mal adop­tion, the Commission affirms that it should not affect the EU’s olive oil mar­ket.

This mea­sure should ben­e­fit the Tunisian econ­omy and be a con­crete demon­stra­tion of the EU sup­port for Tunisia.- Committee on International Trade

This assess­ment has been made based on mar­ket data that indi­cates the addi­tional quota of duty-free olive oil from Tunisia will not impact EU pro­duc­tion, and will instead be absorbed by the needs of the mar­ket.

The tem­po­rary increase will allow Tunisia to export 35,000 met­ric tons of duty-free olive oil annu­ally to the EU for two years (both in 2016 and 2017). Meanwhile, the new quota will not be made avail­able until the exist­ing duty-free tar­iff rate quota of 56,700 tons has been ful­filled. Additionally, this mea­sure will not increase the over­all vol­ume of olive oil imported, but rather dis­count duties on already exist­ing imports.

The aim of the pro­posed plan is to serve as a tem­po­rary aid to Tunisia, whose econ­omy has faced espe­cially dif­fi­cult times fol­low­ing recent ter­ror attacks.

According to the European Parliament Committee on International Trade, This mea­sure should ben­e­fit the Tunisian econ­omy and be a con­crete demon­stra­tion of the EU sup­port for Tunisia.”

Given that olive oil is Tunisia’s main agri­cul­tural export, this emer­gency plan could heav­ily ben­e­fit their olive oil sec­tor, which pro­vides direct and indi­rect employ­ment to more than one mil­lion peo­ple and makes up 20 per­cent of the country’s agri­cul­tural indus­try.

The mat­ter was set to be dis­cussed fur­ther dur­ing a ple­nary debate, and will be fol­lowed by another vote. Ultimately, how­ever, the European Members of Parliament already endorsed the mea­sure in January.

It was fol­low­ing that January vote that Marielle de Sarnez, a spokesper­son for the Parliament, assured the indus­try that the mea­sure isn’t with­out con­di­tions: I know that for col­leagues from some coun­tries, the ques­tion of olive oil is a sen­si­tive one. I want to reas­sure them that the amend­ment we adopted pro­vides that, if after a year we real­ize that there is indeed a prob­lem, the Commission may then take steps to rec­tify the imbal­ance.”


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