US and EU Establish Partnership on Organic Trade
February 23, 2012
On February 15, 2012, Kathleen Merrigan, the U.S. Agriculture Deputy Secretary, Ambassador Isi Siddiqui, the U.S. Trade Representative’s Chief Agricultural Negotiator, and Dacian Ciolos, the European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, signed formal letters creating a partnership that will allow products certified as organic in either the United States or the European Union to be sold as organic in either region. This agreement, which takes effect June 1, 2012, will remove the requirement that growers and companies have two separate certifications and conform to two separate standards in order to trade organic products in both the United States and the European Union. All products traded under this partnership must be shipped with an organic export certificate and certifying agents must verify that antibiotics were not used. The organic export certificate will show the production location, identify the organization that certified the organic product, verify that prohibited substances and methods were not used, and certify that the terms of the partnership were met. Additionally, the organic export certificate will allow the products under this agreement to be tracked.
U.S. and E.U. negotiators reached this agreement after conducting audits on each other’s regulations and certification requirements. Both the U.S. and E.U. will continue to periodically review each others’ programs and to coordinate on initiatives to promote organic production. Additionally, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Organic Program and European Commission’s Directorate General for Agriculture and Rural Development will oversee the terms of the partnership.
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