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EU, U.S. forge trade agreement for organics

By Hpanchal on February 16, 2012

The U.S. and the EU, the world’s largest markets for organics, have signed an agreement to boost the trade of organic goods while protecting product integrity. Starting June 1, products certified as organic in either region can be sold in both the EU and U.S. under that label.

Outlined in the deal, the EU will identify the USDA National Organic Program as equivalent to its own program, and the U.S. will recognize the authority of the EU Organic Program.

According to a press release, it’s an agreement that will “expand market access for organic producers and companies by reducing duplicative requirements and certification costs on both sides of the ocean.” Prior to this, those wishing to sell goods in both the EU and the U.S. were forced to pay double the fees and do redundant paperwork.

Christine Bushway, executive director and CEO of the U.S.-based Organic Trade Association, said the elimination of these restrictions will create jobs in the organic sector and benefit farmers and organic product consumers in both the EU and the U.S. Plus, she added, “Equivalence with the EU will be an historic game changer.”

Brandon Fried, executive director of the U.S. Airforwarders Association, also expressed his excitement about the deal. “This agreement is an outstanding example of nations working together in creating harmonized rules that promote mutual recognition of certification standards,” he told Air Cargo World.

“Its promotion of electronic endorsement of import certificates will enable more efficient import clearances to get organic products off flights and into stores faster,” Fried continued. “We hope this pact serves as a model in promoting similar mutual recognition of air cargo screening protocols as well.”

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