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US and Korea harvest organic foods trade deal

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Effective today, organic processed products certified as organic in Korea or the United States will retain the label when sold in either country. The agreement covers organic condiments, cereal, baby food, frozen meals, milk, and other processed products. The Organic Trade Association, which represents organic trade in Canada and the US, expects American exports of these items to more than double in value over the next five years to approximately $70 million.

“Korea is a growing, lucrative market for U.S. organic products, and this arrangement increases demand for American organic products,” said Tom Vilsack, Secretary of Agriculture. “This is another chapter in the success story of organic agriculture.”

Considered an equivalency agreement, the US-Korea deal eliminates redundant fees, inspections, paperwork and delays by aligning the organic standards of the two countries. This is Korea’s first organic equivalency agreement, but the US has enacted similar arrangements with Canada, the European Union and Japan. The US Trade Representative’s Office believes this agreement will continue to lower market entry barriers for small and medium-sized businesses in particular.

“This new pact streamlines the trade of organic processed food products between the two countries while still upholding the highest standards of organic oversight,” said Laurie Batcha, chief executive officer and executive director of the O.T.A. “It’s a win for the organic sectors and for the consumers of both nations.”

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