ulations for fresh and processed products under a single legislation. With
expected implementation on January
1, 2013, the legislation’s passage leads
Korea: Proactively Working to Keep Trade Doors Open
Equivalency determinations, while time consuming, can lead to greater market
opportunities for U.S. organic producers. Carrying on efforts to build international trade partnerships, the NOP and USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service traveled to Seoul, Korea, in September 2011 to proactively engage the Korean
government. According to Korean import data, U.S. exports of organic products
in 2010 totaled approximately $13 million, up from $10.5 million in 2009.
Much like with the NOP certification system, the Korean government accredits
organic certification bodies through a system that includes document review, an
initial on-site assessment and follow-up assessments every two years. Currently, ten
certifying agents certify about 285 operations. The agency is also responsible for
inspecting agricultural products and conducts regular surveillance at the production and distribution stages.
Given that the Korean organic certification system was modeled after that of
the United States, a side-by-side comparison of the two nations’ organic standards
shows no major differences. However, a revision of Korea’s sustainable agriculture
act is underway. The act addresses organic certification and combines organic reg-
Korea’s sustainable agriculture
International Insights: More Data Available for Organic
act, set to be implemented on
January 1, 2013, could mean that
U.S. organic products may require
further certification to Korea’s
standards unless an equivalency
agreement is negotiated prior.
International Trade Commission codes became effective in January 2011, offering
key data for international trade on select organic products. These codes are published in the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States on the U.S. International Trade Commission’s website ( www.usitc.gov/tata/hts/bychapter/index.htm)
and Schedule B of the U.S. Census Bureau ( www.census.gov/foreign-trade/sched-ules/b/ index.html).
Also, don’t forget to fill out forms when shipping products so the NOP can track
USDA Organic products being exported and imported. Organic commodity trade
information is available at www.fas.usda.gov/htp/organics/organics.asp.
to the possibility that U.S. organic
products may require further certification to Korea’s standards unless an
agreement is negotiated prior. Such a
prospect has underscored the need for
an equivalency arrangement to maintain trade between the two countries.
“We are laying down the groundwork now so that once their organic
standards are implemented through a
new act, we can continue to trade
products in a smooth transition,” said
Guo. Continued technical discussions
are helping establish the foundation
for what the United States hopes will
be a mutual equivalency arrangement,
thereby eliminating the need for U.S.
certifiers to be additionally accredited
to the Korean organic standards.
Parallel Certification Systems
While the NOP continues to engage in discussions of equivalence, it
also maintains existing international
partnerships to ensure the integrity of