` U.S. Producers' Group, Waving '60 Minutes' Report, Calls Trade Agreement a 'Missed Opportunity'

Business

U.S. Producers' Group, Waving '60 Minutes' Report, Calls Trade Agreement a 'Missed Opportunity'

Jan. 25, 2016
By Wendy Logan

Recent News

Sec­tors of the U.S. agri­cul­tural indus­try are express­ing a mea­sure of dis­ap­point­ment in the terms of the recently passed Tans-Pacific Trade agree­ment (TPP).

Kim­berly Hould­ing, pres­i­dent of the Amer­i­can Olive Oil Pro­duc­ers Asso­ci­a­tion (AOOPA) tes­ti­fied at a hear­ing last week that the TPP should have been the begin­ning of a forum of New World olive oil pro­duc­ing coun­tries,” and that it should have been the jump­ing-off point for address­ing the issues faced by the indus­try in the U.S., Aus­tralia, Chile, Mex­ico, and New Zealand.

We are con­cerned and dis­ap­pointed that this agree­ment may be miss­ing a major oppor­tu­nity to pro­mote trans­parency and effec­tive qual­ity stan­dards within the TPP coun­tries.- Kim­berly Hould­ing, Amer­i­can Olive Oil Pro­duc­ers Asso­ci­a­tion

Despite U.S. indus­try efforts,” she said, the agree­men­t’s tech­ni­cal bar­ri­ers to trade’ chap­ter does not include olive oil in the annex direct­ing coun­tries to form sec­tor-spe­cific groups to address stan­dards, label­ing and pack­ag­ing for wine and spir­its, cos­met­ics and other prod­ucts.”

Hould­ing cited in tes­ti­mony before the United States Inter­na­tional Trade Com­mis­sion the recent 60 Min­utes’ seg­ment which high­lighted the health haz­ards of adul­ter­ated olive oil before an esti­mated 12 mil­lion Amer­i­can view­ers of the pro­gram. That is a fright­en­ing thought given one expert in this story who esti­mated that 75 to 80 per­cent of the extra vir­gin olive oil exported from Italy to U.S. super­mar­ket shelves is fraud­u­lent,” said Hould­ing, refer­ring to Extra Vir­gin­ity’ author, Tom Mueller, who was inter­viewed for the seg­ment.

Vic­to­ria Guida reported in Politico on Jan­u­ary 15 that Hould­ing asserted the TPP offered the oppor­tu­nity to form a U.S.-based group that would pro­vide coun­ter­bal­ance to the Inter­na­tional Olive Coun­cil that rep­re­sents Europe’s olive oil trade.

Advertisement

It is still pos­si­ble that a pro­vi­sion might be added to pro­vide for the estab­lish­ment of ad hoc work­ing groups whose pur­pose would be to address stan­dards and reg­u­la­tory issues, which con­tinue to be an over­all con­cern for the olive oil indus­try as a whole. Accord­ing to USTR spokesman Matt McAl­vanah, TPP’s [Tech­ni­cal Bar­ri­ers to Trade] chap­ter pro­vides the oppor­tu­nity to work on addi­tional sec­tor spe­cific ini­tia­tives, and we look for­ward to fur­ther dis­cus­sions with the indus­try on this topic.”

Read more on