The United States and Japan announced Sept. 26 that beginning January 1, 2014, organic products certified in Japan or in the United States may be sold as organic in either country. Formal letters creating this partnership were finalized on September 26, 2013 in Baltimore, Maryland.
This partnership between two significant organic markets will streamline U.S. farmers' and processors' access to the growing Japanese organic market, benefiting the rapidly growing organic industry and supporting job creation and business growth on a global scale.
The U.S. and Japan organic standards cover the lifecycle of the product, including allowed and prohibited substances and natural resources conservation requirements. Both parties individually determined that their programs were "equivalent" with no restrictions for organic plant and plant products. This means that—for the first time—certified organic farmers and businesses in the U.S. don't have to prove that they didn't use a specific substance or production method to gain access to the Japanese organic market.
This partnership streamlines the export certificate process, which also reduces the paperwork burden for farmers and businesses. It also helps provide American consumers with year-round access to a diverse array of organic products.