Korea Equivalency Arrangement
As of July 1, 2014, processed organic products certified in Korea or in the United States may be sold as organic in either country.
According to U.S. industry estimates, the United States exported approximately $35 million of processed organic products to Korea in 2013. Since January 1, 2014, when a change in Korea's regulations closed the market to U.S. organic exports, U.S. and Korean officials have been working to finalize the organic equivalency arrangement that was announced today - the fourth such agreement established under the current Administration.
"This partnership reopens a lucrative market and increases demand for U.S. organic products," said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. "It's another chapter in the success story of organic agriculture, which provides American producers with economic opportunities and creates jobs for U.S. farmers and small businesses across the country."
Formal letters creating this partnership were finalized on June 30, 2014. Signatures to the partnership are Anne L. Alonzo, U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service Administrator; Sharon Bomer Lauritsen, Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Agricultural Affairs and Commodity Policy; and Su-Nahm Kim, Director General of the Consumer & Science Policy Bureau at the Korean Ministry of Agriculture, Food, and Rural Affairs.
Without this equivalency arrangement in place, organic farmers and businesses wanting to sell products in either country would have to obtain separate certifications to meet each country's organic standards. This typically has meant two sets of fees, inspections, and paperwork. Similar to previous U.S. equivalency arrangements with Canada, the European Union, and Japan, this trade partnership with Korea eliminates significant barriers, especially for small and medium-sized organic businesses.
The U.S. and Korea are committed to ensuring that all traded organic products meet the terms of the partnership, retaining their organic integrity from farm to market. The partnership allows both countries to spot-check imported organic products to ensure that the terms of the arrangement are being met. Korea's National Agricultural Products Quality Management Service and USDA's National Organic Program (NOP) will take on key oversight roles.