Tunisian oil: why are we protesting, precisely?
Tunisian oil: why are we protesting, precisely?

Surprisingly Europe removed the customs duty on Tunisian oil and raised imports. In Italy, the country that with 298 thousand tons produced in 2015/16, 553 thousand consumed, 570 thousand imported and 300 thousand exported (Corriere della Sera data) is in the lead in consumption, together with Spain, the choice is causing debate.

It is right to increase by 35 thousand tons per year (apart from 56.700 already foreseen by a previous agreement between the European Parliament and Tunisia) the quantity of oil that can be imported from Tunisia at zero duty?

The protest is harsh, the risk for us consumers is that an additional subsidized quota of oil from abroad favors agropiracy and the flourishing counterfeit market which today would cost Italy, according to Coldiretti data (therefore to be carefully verified because they are often unrealistic) 60 billion euros and 300,000 jobs.

The sophistications are known: they range from false declarations on the label (oil declared Made in Italy but from non-EU countries) to olive oil passed off as extra virgin to tons of table olives painted with copper sulphate.

The European measure was prepared to help Tunisia, the only country where, thanks to the so-called Arab Spring, we have gone from an authoritarian regime to a democratic system, albeit still imperfect, after the collapse of the tourism sector due to the recent ISIS attacks.

A temporary measure, valid for only two years with a ban on extension, and concerning olive oil whose traceability can be guaranteed.

On the market, Tunisian oil is quoted on average 3 euros less per liter than the Italian one and has lower oleic acid levels, which is probably why it seems less good to us.

But apart from these considerations, as staunch defenders of every measure that can defend us from food fraud, the protests of thousands of Coldiretti farmers or the hysterical reactions of some national newspapers always ready to invoke protectionism regardless, seem exaggerated. and instrumental.

The data on consumption, import and export clearly show how the Italian production fails to answer the internal question and, consequently, the lower the import cost, the less we end consumers will have to bear.

Furthermore, this tearing one's clothes on command shows us exaggeratedly frightened by a modest quantity of greater import and in any case limited in time.

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