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Parliamentary questions
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9 August 2018
Joint answer given by Mr Hogan on behalf of the European Commission
Written questions: E-003162/18 , E-003413/18
Question references: E-003162/2018, E-003413/2018

The Tunisian government has asked for an extension of the exceptional Autonomous Trade Measures (ATMs)(1) on olive oil, which expired definitively at the end of 2017.

The request has been examined having in mind that the regular duty free tariff quota (TRQ) for olive oil under the EU-Tunisia Association Agreement has a low impact on the market situation in the EU. Over a period of the last five harvests(2), 79% of Tunisia's total exports of olive oil were directed to the EU, corresponding to 4.8% of the average EU production during the same period. Even after the exhaustion of the TRQ, the EU olive oil industry purchases the Tunisian olive oil under the inward processing regime.

The announcement made by the President of the European Commission on 24 April 2018 refers to a reciprocal agreement(3) based on Article 18 of the EU-Tunisia Association Agreement, which includes the possibility of granting each other further trade concessions.

The quality, authenticity, labelling and marketing of olive oil is regulated and safeguarded by Regulation (EEC) No 2568/1991(4) and by Regulation (EU) No 29/2012(5). These Regulations provide for Member States to carry out conformity checks to ensure that the olive oil marketed is consistent with the category and origin declared.

Concerning the traceability of the entire olive oil supply chain, Article 18 of Regulation (EC) No 178/2002(6) stipulates that food business operators shall ensure traceability for all food handled, in order to provide this information to the competent authorities when needed.

(1)Due to low production in Tunisia for 2015/2016 and 2016/2017 harvests only 5 055 tonnes of 10 352 tonnes, which were allocated in 2016 under the ATM quota, were imported in the EU.
(2)According the most recent International Olive Council figures, Tunisia expects to produce 280 000 tonnes during this harvest 2017/2018 compared to 100 000 tonnes during the previous harvest 2016/2017. Accordingly, Tunisian export for 2017/2018 harvest is expected to reach 200 000 tonnes compared to 89 500 tonnes for the previous 2016/2017 harvest (123% increase).
(3)This agreement would be subject to the approval of both the Council of the European Union and the European Parliament. Should this agreement enter into force, the EU would grant a temporary duty free TRQ of 30,000 tonnes/year for 2019 and 2020 in exchange for concessions for some EU agricultural products.
(4)OJ L 248, 5.9.1991, p. 1‐83.
(5)OJ L 12, 14.1.2012, p. 14‐21.
(6)OJ L 31, 1.2.2002, p. 1‐24.

Last updated: 10 August 2018Legal notice