Apr 30, 2020
USDA now offers electronic import certificate
National Organic Program

The USDA National Organic Program logoThe 2018 Farm Bill called for technological enhancements to improve the ability of the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) National Organic Program (NOP) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to oversee imported organic products. The electronic organic import certificates envisioned in the Farm Bill will provide critical organic import data and make it easier to monitor organic imports.

The NOP and CBP are pleased to announce that at the end of April 2020, the electronic organic import certificate (or “message set”) is deploying in CBP’s primary import system, known as the Automated Commercial Environment (ACE). This organic certificate is being launched as an optional filing step, not as required.

The electronic organic import certificate is expected to become required with the publication of the Strengthening Organic Enforcement final rule.

Information for Organic Community

Proposed requirements related to the electronic organic import certificate are described in the Strengthening Organic Enforcement proposed rule. We invite public comments on the rule once published.

While the NOP electronic organic import certificate is not currently mandatory, U.S. importers who wish to request the NOP Import Certificate from exporters and include in their import filings may do so at any time. Trade filers wishing to begin using and piloting this new feature should work with their software vendor on its availability.

The NOP will conduct outreach and initiate pilot tests of the electronic organic import certificate in the coming weeks.

Information for Trade Filers

Importers and customs brokers who file entries in ACE may start receiving filing requirement notifications for the new Organic HTS Code flags. Once the electronic import certificate becomes mandatory in ACE, the flags will let filers know what commodities will require the use of the certificate. Requirements are being phased in and full implementation is expected in 2021.

Automated Broker Interface, or ABI, software vendors are actively engaging with NOP to ensure that updates to their applications are compliant and available well in advance of the full regulation implementation.

As these software vendors incorporate the new message set, we encourage voluntary filing. We appreciate customs brokers who start submitting data, so we can fully test and make sure this new message set does not slow trade for valid organic products.

Find Organic Entity Numbers for USDA certified organic farms and businesses around the world in the Organic Integrity Database. Use the ten-digit NOP Operation ID.

If there is no NOP Operation ID because the import is from a NOP trade partner, enter that trade partner’s Organic Entity Number. If there is none, enter 0000000000.


This article was first shared by the National Organic Program in its weekly newsletter, Organic Insider.

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