Japan has decided that it won’t allow the European Union to claim kalamata olives as its own, instead determining that kalamata is both a region in Greece and a variety of olive.
The EU has recently been negotiating a trade deal with Japan and one of the issues was protection of product names based on “geographical indications”. This includes kalamata, which, in addition to being the name of a variety of olive, is also a region in Greece.
Australian Olive Association chief executive Greg Seymour said that if the EU negotiations had been successful, Australian-produced kalamata olives could not have used their varietal name when exporting them to Japan.
Setting a precedent for other countries
Japan’s decision helps to set a precedent for other countries that might be importing kalamata olives from Australia. Mr Seymour said the EU was also negotiating with China. Negotiations began two or three months ago and DFAT had to work quickly to get a positive outcome. He expected the decisions from China to come in a month or two.
“It’s all about setting a precedent with all the trade deals that are happening at the moment,” Mr Seymour said. “Japan is the first cab off the rank and the next one coming up is China.
“There’s no guarantee they will decide the same, but the decision by Japan certainly helps in our favour.”
Mr Seymour said kalamata was the main table olive grown in Australia, grown mostly in the southern states.
“While we don’t send a lot into China, who knows what is going to happen,” he said.
“We are looking to increase our export markets.”