` EU Olive Oil Sector Eager for Details of New School Promotion Plan


EU Olive Oil Sector Eager for Details of New School Promotion Plan

Nov. 11, 2013
By Julie Butler

Recent News

A plan to pro­mote olive oil and table olives in schools in the E.U. is among mat­ters likely to be dis­cussed at the next meet­ing of the Euro­pean Commission’s Advi­sory Group on Olives and Derived Prod­ucts.

To be held in Brus­sels on Novem­ber 13, the meet­ing is also likely to include brief­ings from the Com­mis­sion on its plan to toughen olive oil label rules and its free trade talks with the United States.

The group’s chair­man, Rafael Sánchez de Puerta Díaz, said the agenda had yet to be final­ized but would prob­a­bly also include var­i­ous reports on the olive oil mar­ket and updated fore­casts for the cur­rent har­vest.

Pro­mot­ing olive oil in E.U. schools


Span­ish Mem­bers of the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment pushed for the new farm pol­icy for the E.U. to pro­vide for a school olive oil and table olives pro­gram. They suc­ceeded in win­ning a pro­vi­sion in the Com­mon Agri­cul­tural Pol­icy (CAP) for 2014 – 2020 for a vol­un­tary school scheme with sim­i­lar fund­ing to that of exist­ing ones pro­mot­ing con­sump­tion of dairy prod­ucts and fruit and veg­eta­bles.

Sánchez said advi­sory group had sought an update from the Com­mis­sion on the scheme, which would prob­a­bly not start until 2015.

Fate of plans to require clearer label infor­ma­tion

Sánchez said the group had also asked the Com­mis­sion to explain its plans re promised changes to olive oil label­ing laws.

Require­ments for clearer label infor­ma­tion, and for tougher penal­ties for and more checks on mis­la­bel­ing, were part of a draft E.U. reg­u­la­tion that was with­drawn at the last minute in May amid con­tro­versy over one of its other pro­vi­sions — a ban on refill­able olive oil con­tain­ers on restau­rant tables.

Sánchez said nobody had ques­tioned the rest of the draft reg­u­la­tion and the group wanted to know if the Com­mis­sion planned to pro­ceed with it, albeit with­out the refill­able con­tainer ban.

We think it should go ahead but so far the Com­mis­sion hasn’t said it there will be a new reg­u­la­tion,” he said.

E.U. — U.S. trade rela­tions

Sánchez said the group also awaited a brief­ing from the Com­mis­sion on its reac­tion to the report on com­pe­ti­tion in the global olive oil trade released in Sep­tem­ber by the United States Inter­na­tional Trade Com­mis­sion (USITC).

The group wanted to know what the Com­mis­sion was doing to fol­low up on the report, which said a lot of things which we don’t agree with.”

Sánchez said the report had sug­gested — in a generic way, with­out being too spe­cific — that Euro­pean olive oil had qual­ity prob­lems.”

It had referred on var­i­ous occa­sions to tests that had not been accepted by the Inter­na­tional Olive Coun­cil as qual­ity cri­te­ria, namely those of DAGs (dia­cyl­glyc­erols) and PPPs (pyropheo­phytins), he said.

And it had also ques­tioned the income sup­port pro­vided to olive oil pro­duc­ers by the E.U. when the World Trade Orga­ni­za­tion had accepted this as not dis­tort­ing the mar­ket.

Sánchez said the USITC report had been pre­pared for com­mer­cial rea­sons, to defend its (U.S.) pro­duc­tion from Euro­pean pro­duc­tion” and intro­duce a trade bar­rier in the mar­ket.”

As its release coin­cided with the cur­rent free trade nego­ti­a­tions between the U.S. and the E.U., the group wanted to know what posi­tion the Com­mis­sion was tak­ing in the talks in rela­tion to olive oil, what it saw as the likely reper­cus­sions of the USITC report, and what it was doing about them, he said.

The USITC report was pro­duced at the request of the U.S. House Ways and Means Com­mit­tee. Such so-called §332 inves­ti­ga­tions are often fol­lowed by U.S. trade actions, such as lim­it­ing imports.

Last Novem­ber, E.U. Trade Com­mis­sioner Karel De Gucht said that the Com­mis­sion was mon­i­tor­ing debate about a pos­si­ble U.S. mar­ket­ing order for olive oil, a mea­sure that he said would cause unfair delays and costs if also applied to importers.

Related News