International Olive Council backs a reasonable one-year extension

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The 102nd IOC Congress, held in Madrid, engaged in a process of self-reclection focusing on the existence and operationality of the intergovernmental organisation itself. The current Agreement is about to lapse in a few weeks (31st December 2014), so new decisions had to be taken soon.

The final decision to back a one-year extension demonstrates that rationality prevailed.

Of course counterproductive disagreements arised, especially from country- members like Turkey- which happens to serve as president-country for this year- Tunisia and Israel. The aforementioned countries opted for a two-year extension, a proposal, which if implemented, would severely affect the IΟC.

All is well that ends well (?)

Given the difficulty in negotiating with so many stakeholders, the IOC’s successful “passing” of the one-year extension, was finally welcomed and applauded, even from technocrats who attend these Congresses.

Along with the extension of the current Agreement, Jean-Louis Barjol and Assabah’s roles (executive director and deputy respectively), although questioned by some, have been renewed for an extra year.

IOC needs to work hard in the next 12 months with the ultimate aim to create a new Agreement. At this point, it is important to mention that the current Agreement was signed in 2005 while the previous one in 1986, with an interim review in 1993.

At the forefront is a series of topics related to the global olive oil industry:

– A new Trade Standard will include names/ designations, limitations, methods and analyses. Apart from the IOC, there are various Trade Standards (California, Australia). It is for this reason that the IOC is open to discussions in Codex Alimentarious for the formation of a general Agreement to govern the global industry.

– The reformulation of the IOC’s goals and principles

– A basic priority has been to attract and incite active participation from consuming countries. Today, only oli producing countries are on our list, with shares analogous to their annual output. For instance, The European Union holds 68%, Tunisia an estimated 7,5%, Turkey reaches a lower share (6%) and then follows Syria (5%), Morocco (4%) and others.

– If The United States of America were only an oil producing country, then its share would hardly reach the 0,5%. Yet, if a consuming country with 300 Thousand tons, its share would be many times higher. It is therefore in the interest of all the oil-producing and oil- consuming countries to come together and engage in a fruitful and useful dialogue.

– Organizational, administrative and financial issues have also arisen, e.g. the person to undertake the demanding role of the executive director.

Article by Vassilis Zampounis, source

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