US-EU Sign Organic Pact

As of June 2012, organic products sold in the United States may be marketed as organic goods in the European Union, standardizing the two group’s competing definitions and making international trade easier.

Before the agreement was signed, producers had to obtain dual certification for organic goods. EU organic regulations were significantly stricter than American regulations and EU companies and governments refused to lower their standards. The result was significantly more bureaucratic headache for exporters (who had to deal with twice the fees, paperwork, and inspections).

The equivalency agreement essentially treats the organic food market as a singular entity. Goods classified as organic in the United States may be sold as organic within the EU, and vice versa.

To quell complaints from European organic farmers that American farmers and producers use lax standards, regulatory agencies and inspectors staged surprise inspections and on-site audits during the negotiations. These audits will help guarantee quality control and uniform production standards across both markets.

“This agreement provides economic opportunities for certified organic farmers as well as additional incentives for prospective farmers,” said Miles McEvoy, National Organic Program Deputy Administrator.

The agreement is another major success for U.S. trade representatives and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, who have both made expanding agricultural exports a top priority.

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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer