Duty-Free Imports Of Tunisian Olive Oil Cause Anger In Italy
The European Parliament has given its final approval to importing an extra 35,000 tonnes of Tunisian olive oil a year until 2017 without duties.
This figure is in addition to the 56,700 tonnes of duty-free oil already provided for in the EU-Tunisia agreement, taking the total of subsidized Tunisian olive oil imports to over 90,000 tonnes.
MEPs said the decision was aimed at boosting Tunisia's economy, which has been damaged by several terrorist attacks since last year.
EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini, told newspaper La Repubblica that the decision “will have minimal impact on the Italian and European economy”.
However, the measure has caused widespread anger in Italy, both among producers and the political opposition.
Italian farmer’s association Coldiretti fears that the cheap Tunisian olive oil could easily be mixed with Italian olive oil and sold for a premium price on the international market.
The association’s president, Roberto Moncalvo, defined the move as a "wrong choice, which doesn’t help Tunisian producers, harms Italian ones and increases the risk that consumers will be exposed to fraud".
The anti-establishment 5-Star Movement (M5S) said the measure was a "disgrace for the government" of Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi. Matteo Salvini, the leader of the nationalist Northern League, branded the decision "an embarrassment", saying he would defend Italian producers
© 2016 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Branislav Pekic. To subscribe to ESM: The European Supermarket Magazine, click here.