U.S. and Canada reach organic trade agreement

by Eric Schroeder
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CHICAGO — Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Kathleen Merrigan on Wednesday said the United States and Canada have reached an "equivalency agreement" that will expand market opportunities for organic producers in the two countries.

Under terms of the agreement, which is set to take effect June 30, producers and processors that are certified to the National Organic Program standards by a U.S. Department of Agriculture-accredited certifying agent do not have to become certified to the Canada Organic Product Regulation standards in order for their products to be represented as organic in Canada, and vice versa. Both the U.S.D.A. Organic seal and the Canada Organic Biologique log maybe used on certified products from both countries.

"The production of organic foods is a vibrant growth opportunity for American agriculture, and by agreeing on a common set of organic principles with Canada, we are expanding market opportunities for our producers to sell their products abroad," Ms. Merrigan said. "Today’s agreement between the world’s two largest organic trading partners is an important first step toward global harmonization of organic standards."

According to the Foreign Agricultural Service of the U.S.D.A., approximately 80% of Canada’s organic consumption comes from imports, with about 75% of that total coming from the United States.

For more details on the agreement, visit www.ams.usda.gov/nop.

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