2009 Press Releases
Organic Trade Association commends U.S. officials for successfully negotiating Taiwan’s recognition of U.S. National Organic Program
For immediate release
Contact: Barbara Haumann (413-376-1220)
Greenfield, MASS. (March 19, 2009)—The Organic Trade Association (OTA) today hailed trade negotiations between U.S. officials and the Taiwanese government that have resulted in Taiwan recognizing the U.S. National Organic Program (NOP) as equivalent to its recently drafted regulations.
“OTA is pleased that an export agreement has been reached with Taiwan. This will open opportunities for U.S. organic companies to export to Taiwan,” said David Gagnon, OTA’s Chief Operating Officer and Managing Director, who also serves as OTA’s leader on U.S. organic export projects.
The move will open Taiwan to the import of NOP-certified U.S. organic products that are accompanied by a transaction document, TM-11.
“This agreement was made possible by a major push by USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) and the National Organic Program on our behalf. In particular, OTA would like to thank Kelly Strzelecki of FAS and Barbara Robinson of NOP, as well as Katherine Lee and Keith Snelling in the Agricultural Trade Office at the American Institute in Taiwan,” said Gagnon.
Last fall, FAS approved $750,000 in Technical Assistance for Specialty Crops (TASC) funding over three years to OTA, in partnership with Sustainable Strategies, for projects that analyze technical trade barriers for U.S. organic products. With the funding, OTA member Sustainable Strategies: Advisors in Food and Agriculture, based in Boalsburg, PA, is conducting various comparative gap analyses and overviews of international markets for U.S. organic products. Comparative gap analyses are detailed, side-by-side comparisons of the U.S. national organic standards and those of designated countries. Each analysis identifies the barriers to exporting U.S. organic products to specific international specialty markets.
In their project proposal to FAS, OTA and Sustainable Strategies pointed out that U.S. organic producers are often at an unfair trade disadvantage because various foreign nations, certifiers and their producers enjoy full access to the 50-state U.S. market while U.S. organic producers have no reciprocal access to their markets. As a result, U.S. companies often must negotiate with sovereign nations on an inherently uneven playing field.
OTA works closely with FAS and U.S. trade negotiation teams to ensure that organic products are considered in trade negotiations, and offers an International Trade Forum for its members. In addition, OTA manages the Organic Export Program, an international marketing program funded by the USDA Market Access Program to promote U.S. organic products to the world market, and an online Export Directory listing companies that export.
The Organic Trade Association (OTA) is the membership-based business association for organic agriculture and products in North America. Its 1,600 members include growers, shippers, processors, certifiers, farmers' associations, distributors, importers, exporters, consultants, retailers and others. OTA's mission is to promote and protect the growth of organic trade to benefit the environment, farmers, the public and the economy (www.ota.com).