STC Number - 165

Import restrictions on Spanish olive oil

Maintained by: Bahrain, Kingdom of; Kuwait, the State of; Oman; Qatar; United Arab Emirates
Raised by: European Union
Supported by:
First date raised: June 2003 G/SPS/R/30, para. 166
Dates subsequently raised: June 2004 (G/SPS/R/34, para. 17)
October 2004 (G/SPS/R/35, para. 58)
June 2005 (G/SPS/R/37/Rev.1, para. 75)
Number of times subsequently raised: 3
Relevant documents: Raised orally
Products covered: 1509 Olive oil and its fractions, whether or not refined, but not chemically modified.
Primary subject keyword: Food safety
Keywords: Animal health; Food safety; Human health
Status: Partially resolved
Solution: European Communities informed the Committee that Oman, Bahrain and Kuweit had decided to lift the ban on EC exports of pomace oil without further requirements such as certification.
Date reported as resolved:

Extracts from SPS Committee meeting summary reports

In June 2003, the European Communities reported on the final results of the investigation concerning the problems with olive oil contamination in Spain in 2002. The contamination had occurred due to a manufacturing error, but the problem had since been resolved. The restrictions which some Members continued to impose on Spanish olive oil were therefore no longer justified.
In June 2004, the European Communities raised concerns over import restrictions on Spanish pomace olive oil imposed by some Gulf countries. After an isolated safety incident in 2001, some Members applied restrictive measures to this product. Since 2001, most Members had gradually lifted the import ban, except the Gulf countries. These products no longer were a risk to human or animal health, as corrective measures had been quickly and properly applied by the competent authorities of Spain. Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates were requested to immediately lift the ban on any type of olive oil imported from the European Union as the ban was not based on any scientific evidence.
In October 2004, the European Communities stated that bilateral consultations were held with several Gulf countries prior to the meeting to address restrictions imposed on Spanish olive oil by Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. The European Communities were hopeful for a prompt resolution of the issue and would also be holding bilateral meetings with Oman and Kuwait.
In June 2005, the European Communities informed the Committee that Oman, Bahrain and Kuweit had decided to lift the ban on EC exports of pomace oil without further requirements such as certification. The European Communities was hoping that this would allow trade to resume with these three Members very soon.