South American countries look set to gain more organic equivalency agreements with the EU and the US, after the European Union and Chile concluded negotiations on an agreement on trade in organic products in April 2016.
Under the deal, the EU and Chile will mutually recognise the equivalence of their organic production rules and control system and ensure a high level of respect of the principle of organic production, EU Agriculture and Rural Development said.
The agreement is broad in scope and will allow for products produced and controlled according to EU rules to be directly placed on the Chilean market and vice versa. It will also aim at reciprocally protecting the organic logos as well as providing for a system of updates of the product's coverage, along with increased co-operation, information exchange and dispute settlement in organic trade.
The EU-Chile agreement on trade in organic products will be the first of the "new generation" agreements in trade in organic products and the first bilateral recognition with a Latin American country.
EU Commissioner Phil Hogan stated: "I very much welcome the end of negotiations with Chile with a view to concluding an agreement on trade in organic products. The European organic sector continues to be one of our most dynamic production sectors and Chile has great potential in developing opportunities for organic farmers and businesses."
Last year, Mexico’s Secretariat of Agriculture, Livestock, Rural Development, Fisheries, and Food (SAGARPA) extended the deadline to comply with Mexico’s (LPO) organic regulations to October 29, 2016, that allows products certified organic under the USDA’s National Organic Program (NOP) to continue to enter and be sold in Mexico as organic. This also extends the process Mexico is in of achieving organic equivalency with the United States, to October 29, 2016.
However, USDA NOP organic certifier Oregon Tilth said that as of April 29, 2017, all operations located in Mexico which conduct organic sales within the national market in Mexico or seek to export products to Mexico will be required to become certified to the LPO or accepted under an Equivalency Agreement.
The Government of Colombia and the European Commission started negotiations in February towards a bilateral agreement on trade in organic products between the EU and the South American country.
Both sides confirmed their interest to swiftly conclude an agreement that would allow a larger market for organic farmers, reduced burden for companies and more organic products available to consumers. Although not part of the Trade Agreement in force since 2013 between the EU and Colombia and Peru, this new agreement will be earmarked in the privileged relationship of cooperation and trade facilitation that has been established since then.
EU Commissioner Phil Hogan visited Colombia from 7 to 9 February 2016, accompanied by a delegation of 35 European businesses representing a wide range of the European Union's agri-food sector.
IFOAM EU reported that Chile will be 13th on the list of recognised EU “equivalent” third countries. Countries that are already on the list are: Argentina, Australia, Canada, Costa Rica, India, Israel, Japan, Republic of Korea, Switzerland, Tunisia, the United States and New Zealand.