Europe

U.N. Reasserts Role of International Olive Council with New Agreement

Oct. 14, 2015
By Gaynor Selby

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The United Nations Conference for Trade and Development (UNCTAD) in Switzerland has adopted a new agree­ment on olive oil that comes into effect January 1, 2017.

The new agree­ment is based on the text adopted in June by the International Olive Council Members but includes changes that make cer­tain points clearer, the IOC said in a press release.

Since January, the IOC had been oper­at­ing under a tem­po­rary exten­sion to the International Agreement on Olive Oil and Table Olives (2005).

An agree­ment aimed at facil­i­tat­ing the par­tic­i­pa­tion of importer coun­tries- International Olive Council

This new text takes into account devel­op­ments in the world­wide olive oil indus­try and reasserts the role of the International Olive Council (IOC) as a center for infor­ma­tion and doc­u­men­ta­tion dis­sem­i­na­tion regard­ing olive oil prod­ucts, as well as reit­er­at­ing IOC as a forum for indus­try stake­hold­ers, the IOC said.

In addi­tion, the text empha­sizes the stan­dard­iza­tion of national and inter­na­tional leg­is­la­tion about the phys­i­cal, chem­i­cal and organolep­tic char­ac­ter­is­tics of olive oils, olive pomace oil and table olives, in a bid to “pre­vent obsta­cles to trade.”

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See more: New Draft International Agreement on Olive Oil and Table Olives

The UNCTAD for­mally adopted the text during dis­cus­sions in Geneva last week.

According to the IOC release, the new agree­ment is simple, more ratio­nal and more con­densed than pre­vi­ous ver­sions and fea­tures a mod­i­fied system for cal­cu­lat­ing the dis­tri­b­u­tion of par­tic­i­pa­tion shares that aims to encour­age con­sumer coun­tries to join.

“It is aimed at facil­i­tat­ing the par­tic­i­pa­tion of importer coun­tries,” it said.

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“The next text will enter into force on 1st January 2017 and will remain in force until 31 December 2026. It is the cul­mi­na­tion of two years of dis­cus­sion by a spe­cial work­ing group set up in 2013 and fol­lowed by the pro­ceed­ings at the inter­na­tional con­fer­ence.”

The agree­ment will be open for sig­na­ture by gov­ern­ment and con­tract­ing par­ties through­out next year and the Secretariat General of the United Nations will be the new deposi­tary of the agree­ment.

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The cur­rent exec­u­tive direc­tor of the IOC is Frenchman Jean-Louis Barjol, who has served in this posi­tion since January 1, 2011 and whose con­tract will come to an end on December 31, 2015, com­plet­ing a five-year term.

The meet­ing in Geneva was the sixth con­fer­ence held since 1956 to nego­ti­ate the agree­ment the IOC is man­dated to admin­is­ter.