Jul 14, 2020
US, Japanese organic trade expanded to livestock

The United States and Japan announced the expansion of their organic equivalence arrangement to include livestock products. The arrangement goes into effect July 16, 2020 and reduces costs and streamlines the process for anyone involved in the organic livestock supply chain by requiring only one organic certification.

“Opening new markets for America’s organic farmers and ranchers continues to be a priority for USDA,” said the USDA Marketing and Regulatory Programs Under Secretary Greg Ibach. “Japan is already one of the top export markets for U.S. organic products. This agreement opens additional opportunities for everyone involved in the international supply chain for livestock, from farm to table.”

Image: USDA

In a released statement, the Organic Trade Association said it welcomed the news:

“The Organic Trade Association welcomes the expansion of the U.S.-Japan Organic Equivalence Arrangement to include organic livestock. Japan is the third largest export market for the U.S. organic sector, buying more than $50 million worth of U.S. grown and produced organic products last year. This expansion reduces costs and streamlines the process for the organic livestock supply chain. It will benefit U.S. organic farmers and ranchers, and will give Japanese consumers greater access to sought-after American organic products. It’s a win-win for both countries.”

The Japan Agricultural Standards (JAS) now require organic livestock products imported from the United States to either be certified under the JAS or USDA organic regulations. Today’s announcement marks the addition of livestock to the existing U.S.-Japan organic trade arrangement that has allowed plant-based products to be certified to either country’s organic standards since 2014.

“Japan is a key international partner in the organic market sector,” said U.S. Trade Representative Chief Agricultural Negotiator Gregg Doud.  “This expanded arrangement protects and increases access for American organic farmers, ranchers, and businesses to the third-largest U.S. organic export market”.

USDA has established equivalence arrangements with major organic export markets including Canada, the European Union, Japan, South Korea, Switzerland and Taiwan. These arrangements eliminate the need for dual certifications, avoiding double fees, inspections and duplicative paperwork.

Leading up to today’s announcement, technical experts from the United States and Japan conducted thorough on-site audits to ensure that the regulations, quality control measures, certification requirements and labeling practices are compatible. The trade partners will continue to hold regular discussions and review each other’s programs periodically, ensuring the terms of the arrangement are being met.

Additional details on this and other organic trade arrangements, are available on the USDA National Organic Program website at https://www.ams.usda.gov/organic.

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