US and Taiwan seal organic equivalence agreement
The American Institute in Taiwan and the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the United States signed and exchanged letters on behalf of the United States and Taiwan inaugurating a new organic equivalence arrangement. The agreement, which comes into effect as of May 30, 2020, allows organic products certified in the United States or Taiwan to be sold as organic in either market. It covers products certified to the U.S. Department of Agriculture organic regulations or Taiwan organic regulations that are grown or produced in the United States or Taiwan; or have their final processing or packaging in the United States or Taiwan.
U.S. Under Secretary Greg Ibach said, “This equivalence arrangement streamlines trade in certified organic goods with Taiwan, a key international partner in the organic market sector. This arrangement protects and increases access for American organic farmers, ranchers, and businesses to the fifth largest U.S. export market for USDA certified organic products.”
It eliminates the need for organic operators to have separate organic certification to the U.S. and Taiwan standards, which avoids a double set of fees, inspections, and paperwork. Equivalence paves the way for the expansion of existing fresh fruit, vegetable, and processed food trade and provides new market access opportunities for organic livestock and other products. The arrangement also allows U.S.-based organic food processors to source Taiwan certified organic ingredients, increasing the range of organic products available to consumers.
Taiwan is the fifth largest export market for U.S. organic products, with sales approaching $92 million in 2019 and is forecast to grow by almost 50 percent over the next five years, based on Organic Trade Association and USDA analyses. Expanding the AIT/TECRO trade arrangement provides U.S. organic farmers and processors continued access to this significant market. The U.S. currently maintains organic equivalence arrangements with Canada, the European Union, Japan, South Korea and Switzerland.