Beginning next year, manufacturers will not need to obtain both country's certifications to conduct business in the United States and Japan.
Starting January 1, 2014, U.S. and Japan organic standards will be recognized as equivalent, meaning that products certified as organic in one country can be sold as such in the other. The move reduces fees and paperwork burden on organic farmers and manufacturers who previously needed to obtain separate certifications to meet each country’s organic standard.
Both countries agreed to the strategy after on-site audits ensured that both countries’ programs are compatible when it comes to regulations, certification requirements, labeling practices, and QC measures.
Japan is Asia’s largest organic market, and USDA Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack says the equivalency program will serve as a foundation for similar agreements between the United States and other Asian countries.