Turkish Cypriot
Chamber of Commerce

Brussels Representation Newsletter
 


ISSUE 25, 2 March 2017

“PDO registration process of Hellim/Halloumi in the EU should be dealt with a vision and prospect of a unified Cyprus and to the economic benefit of both Communities on the island” 

Following the application of the Greek Cypriot Government to register
Hellim/Halloumi as a Protected Designation of Origin  (PDO) in the EU, a Common Understanding on a temporary solution for Hellim/Halloumi, to be implemented pending the reunification of Cyprus, has been reached between the two leaders under the guidance of President Juncker on 16 July 2015.

In line with the Common Understanding,  on 28 July 2015, the PDO application was published in the EU Official Journal (OJ) to register the names Hellim/Halloumi for the whole territory of Cyprus and parallel to this, the Commission has adopted a proposal to modify the Green Line Regulation (GLR) in order to facilitate trade and to establish the manner in which the control mechanism for goods covered by a name registered under the EU Regulation No 1151/2012 would be applied in the North.

Following the publishing of PDO application in the OJ and the recent completion of the Greek Cypriot Government’s consultations with the parties opposing to Hellim/Halloumi PDO file, the European Commission is now in the final stage of its usual PDO evaluation process prior to making its decision on registering the names Hellim/Halloumi. Once the European Commission decides that the arguments put forward by the opposants are not legally justified, Hellim/Halloumi will be ready to be registered as PDO in the EU.  The EU Commission’s proposal on the issue, which aims to provide the legal basis for the operation of PDO in the North, safeguarding the interests of the Turkish Cypriot dairy producers, however, is yet to be adopted by the EU Council since July 2015.

Commenting on the issue, Fikri Toros said “For the Common Understanding reached between the two leaders in Cyprus to be fully respected, the adoption of the proposal by the Council of the EU is essential. It is with this crucial step that the political understanding between the two leaders will be fully transposed into law and the economic interests of our dairy producers will be safeguarded”. Urging for adoption of the proposal by the Council, he emphasized that all sides concerned should work towards ensuring the successful registration of Hellim/Halloumi as a PDO to the economic benefit of both Communities.
 “This issue presents a great opportunity to foster economic cooperation and reconciliation between the two Communities on the island and should not be squandered” he emphasized. Referring to the potential benefits of geographical indications for boosting income and creating jobs in rural areas, he said “The successful registration of Hellim/Halloumi will not only enable all Cypriots enjoy the economic and social benefits of PDO but will also serve as a significant confidence building measure, contributing to the settlement process in Cyprus” he concluded.

Hoping that the issue would be resolved soon, Toros also said it would be one of their priorities to cooperate with South Cyprus as well as the European Commission to develop an action plan for the eradication of animal diseases and to increase the sheep and goats milk production in order to meet the specifications required for the PDO at the end of the 10-year transitionary period.

Hellim/Halloumi cheese has been produced in Cyprus over the centuries by both Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots using similar methods. It constitutes an important element of the Cypriot culture. Hellim also constitutes 24% of Turkish Cypriots' total exports, amounting to approximately 29 million Euros, and affecting 16.5% of the workforce. If the issue of an effective and workable control mechanism to enable the necessary official controls in the North is not legally addressed, the production of Halloumi/Hellim in North Cyprus will be under serious threat. Not only the exports to the EU under the registered name Hellim will not be possible, it will also pose a serious threat to the current markets of the Turkish Cypriot producers.

 

 

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Established in 1958, the Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Commerce (KTTO) is an internationally-recognized organization, representing the Turkish Cypriot business community at home and abroad. 
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