The Washington D.C.-based Organic Trade Association (OTA) welcomed a new organic equivalency arrangement between the United States and Korea, saying it reopens a critically important Asian market for U.S. organic processed food products.
The new agreement will create jobs and opportunity for the American organic food and farming sector, according to the OTA.
“We extend our thanks and congratulations to the officials at the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative for their success after a year of rigorous negotiations,” said Laura Batcha, CEO and executive director of OTA. “OTA and the U.S. organic industry have worked diligently to help make this happen. This new pact streamlines the trade of organic processed food products between the two countries while still upholding the highest standards of organic oversight. It’s a win for the organic sectors and for the consumers of both nations.”
This is the second organic equivalency partnership formed with a major Asian trading partner within the past year. Last September, the United States and Japan agreed to a similar understanding regarding the bilateral trade of organic products. Batcha said the progress in Asia builds on the landmark equivalency arrangements with Canada in 2009 and the European Union in 2012, the two biggest trading partners for U.S. organic agriculture.
Estimates are that under the new streamlined trading system made possible by this arrangement, American exports of organic processed foods and beverages to Korea, which were valued at around $35 million in 2013, will more than double over the next five years, according to the OTA.
U.S. organic exports to Korea have been on the rise in recent years, as the demand for organic products by Korea’s 50-million plus population, which enjoys the highest per-capita income in Asia, has flourished, OTA reports, adding the lucrative Korean organic market was effectively closed to the U.S. at the end of last year due to a change in Korea’s organic certification requirements.
For more information, visit www.ota.com.