Soon Sicilian organic olive oil from Tunesia?

According to sources, 800 tons of duty-free organic extra-vrgin olive oil were shipped from Tunesia to Sicily. however, the duty-free quota for olive oil for 2018 has already been exceeded. Apparently the Commission is planning to increase the quota of that kind of produce, causing alarm among Sicilian olive-oil farmers. Also, there is a risk that that oil could be sold elsewhere as Sicilian produce without indicating its true source.

The question is quoted as follows : "On 28 August, it was reported that a ship had arrived in Palermo carrying around 800 tonnes of duty-free extra-virgin olive oil from Tunisia which had been purchased by a Sicilian firm.

According to the entries in the register ‘Import quota for Tunisian olive oil 2018’, the duty‐free quota for 2018 of 56 000 tonnes of olive oil had already been exceeded in the month of January. It would also seem that the Commission is planning to approve, for the two-year 2019-2020 period, the importation of a tax-free quota of 30 000 tonnes of Tunisian oil, which has caused particular alarm among olive-oil farmers in Sicily, Calabria and Apulia.

There is also a risk that domestic importers, who in Italy are covered by the customs secret under the right to privacy, could sell that Tunisian olive oil without indicating its true source on the label.

Can the Commission: 1.Confirm that this exemption from customs duty is illegal, given that the duty-free quota was used up in January 2018; 2.Clarify who is responsible for guaranteeing the transparency and traceability that ensures the public are aware of — and enables a track to be kept of — products imported into Sicily; 3.State whether it considers the use of the customs secret to be illegitimate, in view of the consumer’s overriding right to access the list of importers of products from abroad?"

Source: Parliamentary questions 10 September 2018


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