Korean market set to close to U.S. organic exports January 1

feinsteinThis past week, Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and 12 of her Senate colleagues sent a letter to Korean Ambassador Ahn Ho-Young expressing concern that the Korean market may close to organic exports on Jan. 1, 2014. The letter urges the Ambassador to take steps to prevent any disruption in trade by keeping the Korean market open to products certified organic to the USDA National Organic Program standard, pending the negotiation of an equivalency agreement. The U.S. government has begun talks with Korea regarding an equivalency agreement, but it is likely to take some time to complete. The closing of this market has the potential to have an extremely detrimental effect on many OTA members and the United States organic sector as a whole. OTA hosted a member fly-in yesterday and today to D.C. for interested OTA members to advocate for continued access to the Korean organic market.  Members were to have two days of meetings with the Office of the United States Trade Representative, the United States Department of Agriculture, and a number of Senate offices. As part of that, OTA was to deliver a letter to USTR Ambassador Isi Siddiqui and Deputy Undersecretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services Darci Vetter urging them to continue negotiating an equivalency agreement with Korea as expeditiously as possible, as well as to encourage Korea to keep its market open to organic products certified to the USDA National Organic Program standard pending finalization of such an agreement. Read OTA’s press release.

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