U.S. organic industry praises U.S.-Japan partnership in organic trade
On Sept. 26 the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced that the United States and Japan formed a partnership that will recognize the two organic programs as equivalent and allow access to each other’s markets.
Formal letters creating this partnership were exchanged earlier today in Baltimore, Maryland at Natural Products Expo East, one of the largest trade shows for organic products in the United States. The equivalency arrangement was signed by Anne L. Alonzo, USDA Agricultural Marketing Service administrator; Ambassador Islam Siddiqui, U.S. trade representative chief agricultural negotiator; and Hiroyuki Kobayashi, director general, Food Safety and Consumer Affairs Bureau.
USDA continues to expand markets for American organic products abroad, works aggressively to break down barriers to trade, and assists U.S. businesses with the resources needed to reach consumers around the world. U.S. organic exports to Japan are currently estimated at $80 million, with growth due to the arrangement expected to reach at least $250 million in 10 years.
Through the National Organic Program, USDA has helped farmers and businesses create an industry that today encompasses over 17,000 organic businesses in the United States alone, and has grown to $35 billion annually in U.S. retail sales.
Representatives from the U.S. organic industry—including trade associations and organic producers—praised the U.S.-Japan partnership.
“This monumental agreement will further create jobs in the already growing U.S. organic sector, spark additional market growth, and be mutually beneficial to producers both in the United States and Japan and to consumers who choose organic products,” said Christine Bushway, executive director and CEO of the Organic Trade Association.
“This is welcome news for the U.S. organic grain industry, which will see its products more easily traded and welcomed in the burgeoning Japanese market. Organic grains are a vital part of organic offerings, and crucial to global trade,” said Lynn Clarkson, president of Clarkson Grain Co. Inc.