US, Korea Sign ‘Organic’ Product Labeling Deal
Washington, DC – “Organic processed” products certified in the US or Korea can now be labeled as “organic” in either country, according to the US Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS).
The move, the FAS said, takes effect immediately and will allow American organic farmers, processors, and businesses greater access to Korea’s growing market for organic products.
Without the equivalency arrangement in place, organic farmers and businesses wanting to sell organic processed products in either country would have to obtain separate certifications to meet each country’s organic standards, the agency said.
This typically has meant two sets of fees, inspections, and paperwork, and delays for US farmers and businesses trying to export a variety of products including organic condiments, cereal, baby food, frozen meals, milk, and other processed products.
Similar to previous US equivalency arrangements with Canada, the European Union, and Japan, this arrangement with Korea eliminates significant barriers, especially for small and medium-sized organic businesses.
This arrangement is Korea’s first organic equivalency arrangement with any trading partner and serves as an example of how closely the US is working with Korea to address emerging issues and strengthen the trade relationship.
Prior to the announcement of the new arrangement, US and Korean technical experts reportedly conducted several on-site audits to ensure that their programs’ regulations, quality control measures, certification requirements, and labeling practices were compatible.
According to US industry estimates, exports of organic processed products from the United States are valued at approximately $35 million annually.
Korea’s National Agricultural Products Quality Management Service and the US Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Organic Program—which oversee organic products in their respective countries—will oversee implementation of the new arrangement.
Both countries, the FAS said, “will continue to have regular discussions and will review each other’s programs periodically to ensure that the terms of the arrangement are being met.”