The United Nations Plaza in Geneva

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).

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.”

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.

“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.

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.

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