EC publishes the International Agreement on Olive Oil and Table Olives

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The European Comission (EC) has published, on its website, the text of the International Agreement on Olive Oil and Table Olives which was adopted by consensus at the United Nations Conference for Trade and Development (UNCTAD) in Geneva last year.

This new text takes into account developments in the world olive and olive oil industry. It reasserts the role of the International Olive Council (IOC) as a world centre for documentation and information dissemination about the olive and its products and as a forum for industry stakeholders. It also places emphasis on standardising national and international legislation on the physical, chemical and organoleptic characteristics of olive oils, olive pomace oils and table olives in order to prevent obstacles to trade.

Compared with preceding Agreements, the new Agreement is simpler, more rational and more condensed. It is aimed at facilitating the participation of importer countries and features a modified system for calculating the distribution of participation shares that is meant to encourage consumer countries to join. New decision making arrangements have also been put in place and make a distinction between decisions that must be taken exclusively by consensus and decisions that may be taken by a vote if consensus is not reached. In the second case, decision-making by voting will require a larger or smaller majority depending on the subject matter. The budget structure of the IOC has also been simplified.

The new text will enter into force on 1 January 2017 and will remain in force until 31 December 2026. It will be open for signature by Governments and Contracting Parties through 2016. The Secretariat General of the United Nations will be the new depositary of the Agreement.

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