July 28, 2020


US, Japan expand organic trade opportunities, livestock added to trade arrangement


The United States and Japan announced in mid-July the expansion of their organic equivalence arrangement to include livestock products.

The arrangement goes into effect on July 16, 2020, and reduces costs and streamlines the process for anyone involved in the organic livestock supply chain by requiring only one organic certification.

"Opening new markets for America's organic farmers and ranchers continues to be a priority for USDA," said the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Marketing and Regulatory Programs Under Secretary Greg Ibach. "Japan is already one of the top export markets for US organic products. This agreement opens additional opportunities for everyone involved in the international supply chain for livestock, from farm to table."

"Japan is a key international partner in the organic market sector," said US Trade Representative Chief Agricultural Negotiator Gregg Doud.  "This expanded arrangement protects and increases access for American organic farmers, ranchers and businesses to the third largest US organic export market".

The Japan Agricultural Standards (JAS) now require organic livestock products imported from the United States to either be certified under the JAS or USDA organic regulations. The announcement marks the addition of livestock to the existing US-Japan organic trade arrangement that has allowed plant-based products to be certified to either country's organic standards since 2014.

USDA has established equivalence arrangements with major organic export markets including Canada, the European Union, Japan, South Korea, Switzerland and Taiwan. These arrangements eliminate the need for dual certifications, avoiding double fees, inspections and duplicative paperwork.

Leading up to the mid-July announcement, technical experts from the US and Japan conducted thorough on-site audits to ensure that the regulations, quality control measures, certification requirements and labelling practices are compatible.

The trade partners will continue to hold regular discussions and review each other's programmes periodically, ensuring the terms of the arrangement are being met.