NAOOA said the USITC report on an investigation in olive oil industry “fell short...”

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The North American Olive Oil Association (NAOOA) said the report on an investigation into the olive oil industry by the U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) “fell short of the objective analysis that Congress requested,” and “favored the narrow perspective of the domestic industry.”

In a copy of a letter to the USITC chairman dated December 6 and obtained by Olive Oil Times, NAOOA executive vice president Eryn A. Balch laid out the group’s response to the report released last September that some experts said would provide ample grounds for trade actions and formal WTO complaints against E.U. olive oils imported into the U.S.

Balch complained that the report’s “widespread reliance” on the terms “low quality” and “high quality” to describe olive oils that meet or exceed the International Olive Council extra virgin grade standard led to the “erroneous implication” that some olive oils that make the grade are “more worthy” than others that also meet the benchmarks. read more oliveoiltimes

U.S. International Trade Commission Report: Olive Oil: Conditions of Competition between U.S. and Major Foreign Supplier Industries

This report describes and analyzes the factors affecting competition between the United States and major olive oil producing countries.

It provides: (a) an overview of global production, consumption, exports, and imports during 2008–12 and 2013 where available; (b) an analysis of the factors impacting consumption in the U.S. market; (c) profiles of the olive oil industries in the United States and other major producing countries; and (d) an examination of competition between firms and countries in both the global and U.S. market.

Global demand for and consumption of olive oil have increased significantly since the 1990s. While the United States and other “New World” players, such as Australia, Argentina, and Chile, have emerged as both producers and consumers, countries in the European Union (EU) and North Africa still dominate global production, consumption, and trade.

Almost 60 percent of global exports by volume were intra-EU trade flows during 2008–12. The largest bilateral trade flows during this period were Spanish exports of olive oil to Italy, where large multinational companies source oil from around the world, blend and bottle it, and then re-export the final product to third-country markets, including the United States.
The benchmark for international standards for determining the grade of an olive oil are set by the International Olive Council.

Our findings suggest that the current standards for extra virgin olive oil are widely unenforced and allow a wide range of olive oil qualities to be marketed as extra virgin. Broad and unenforced standards can lead to adulterated and mislabeled product, weakening the competitiveness of high-quality U.S.-produced olive oil in the U.S. market. In addition, many U.S. consumers are unable to distinguish quality differences and, as a result, gravitate toward less costly oils, giving an advantage to large bottlers that sell low-cost imported product.

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