Organic processed products certified in the US or Korea can now be labelled as organic in either country following an agreement between the two nations that took effect today (1 July), the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced.
The deal will allow US organic farmers, processors and businesses greater access to Korea's growing market for organic products, the USDA said in a statement.
Commenting on the agreement, US secretary for agriculture Tom Vilsack said: "Korea is a growing, lucrative market for US organic products, and this arrangement increases demand for American organic products."
Ambassador Michael Froman, US trade representative said: “This deal serves as another foundation for future organic trade arrangements between the United States and other partners."
Without the agreement, organic farmers and businesses wishing to sell organic processed products in either country had to obtain separate certifications to meet each country's organic standards. This typically meant two sets of fees, inspections, paperwork and delays, the USDA said.
Leading up to today's announcement, US and Korean technical experts conducted thorough on-site audits to ensure that their programmes' regulations, quality control measures, certification requirements, and labelling practices were compatible.
According to US industry estimates, exports of organic processed products from the United States are valued at approximately US$35m annually.
The US and Korea will review each other's programmes periodically to ensure that the terms of the arrangement are being met.