Experts from Assoziation ökologischer Lebensmittelhersteller (AÖL), Organic Processing and Trade Association Europe (OPTA) and Organic Trade Association (OTA ) and the Alliance for Organic Integrity (AOI) showed the expected challenges for import-export between the US and the EU in the light of the new regulations in both continents that are in the stadium of finalization. Although there are some changes, there is a transitional time, this will become important with the renewal of the trade agreement in 2025. Many obstacles, especially some important differences between both regulations, have to been overcome. Main conclusions of the webinar was: we need more regular exchange and communicate the need of an harmonized approach for the further growth of organic also in the interest of smallholder grower groups in third countries.
Johanna Mirenda (OTA) and Johanna Stumpner (AÖL) highlighted the main changes that will been taken up in the new regulations of US and EU, like higher requirements for CB’s and staff, introduction of import certificates in the US, transfer from equivalence to compliance in the EU and the requirement for a travel plan of the imported goods in TRACES. Alexis Carey (OTA) gave some valuable background information on the economical values and amounts of products that are exported and imported by the US. Especially on the topic of cooperation between the two authorities it was mentioned that exchange on both statistics and data from the customs on both sides (in EU covered by the TRACES-system) might be of great value to strengthen organic integrity.
And what about the position of organic farmers in third countries? Bo van Elzakker (AOI) presented the most important differences between the US and EU requirements on group certification. The actual disharmonized regulations need to be further discussed to prevent that smallholders certified as groups do not face two different set of requirements and certification to enter both markets.
Moderator Karst Kooistra (Tradin organic), board member of OPTA, concluded with the consent of all speakers that the organic sector in the US and EU needs to exchange more often and contribute with solutions to the authorities to harmonize as much as possible in the new trade agreement that has to be ready before end of 2025. Until that time the actual trade agreement guarantees the exchange of organic import-export under the present conditions.
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