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Export News: U.S. – Korea Equivalency Arrangement Finalized

by Jon Knapp |

As of July 1, 2014 organic processed products certified in the United States or Korea can now be exported and labeled as organic in either country. CCOF is excited that this agreement came before the end of the Korean standard’s education period, meaning there was no significant stop in trade between the two countries. CCOF commends the National Organic Program (NOP) for its diligent work in finalizing this agreement in such a short period of time, and with few critical variances.

The equivalency arrangement covers processed organic products, as defined by the Korean Food Code, meaning fresh products will still be restricted from import in to the country. See the NOP Q&A document for details about the processed foods classification, and examples of allowed and not allowed products.

The arrangement also indicates that the products must be at least 95% organic ingredients, have the final processing in the United States, and be free of apple or pear product that was produced with the use of antibiotics. All exports to Korea will also require an organic export certificate to accompany the shipment.

Products exported to Korea will also be subject to Korean labeling requirements, including use of the Korean and/or USDA organic seal. Additional restrictions apply to operations wishing to use the Korean organic seal. For more details about the equivalence and its requirements visit the NOP International Trade Policies: Korea web page.

CCOF will be developing a separate Global Market Access program for Korea to verify compliance with the equivalency agreement — including label verification — to ensure continued market access. We will keep you updated on the process of the new program, and directly contact those operations that have previously shipped to Korea once the program is ready. If you have not shipped to Korea in the past, and would like to enroll in the new Korea program when it is available, please email