United States and Korea complete equivalence discussions

koreaThe U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Organic Program on Friday announced that the United States and Korea have reached an understanding of the parameters for a possible equivalence arrangement for processed organic food products to facilitate trade between the two countries. According to U.S. industry estimates, the United States exported approximately $35 million worth of processed organic products to Korea in 2013 before the market closed on January 1, 2014, due to a change in Korea’s law. Without an equivalence arrangement in place, organic farmers and businesses wanting to sell products in either country have to obtain separate certifications to meet each country’s organic standards, creating duplicate paperwork and inspections. Both the United States and Korea are committed to trying to finalize the arrangement in the very near future, and strengthening their partnership in this robust, growing sector. OTA has been actively involved in this process, and is guardedly optimistic that details will soon be worked out and an agreement finalized.

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