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Important Notice: Exporting to Korea

After being postponed twice in three years, the Korea Organic Regulations are scheduled to become mandatory on January 1, 2014 and will require all imports to be directly certified to the Korea Standards. This will effectively shut out all imports of NOP organic product. Products that have cleared customs in Korea before December 31, 2013 will be allowed to remain in the stream of commerce and be sold as organic in Korea after the January 1st date.

October 15, 2014

You may need to take action on the information in this notice! Please review carefully and contact us at organic@tilth.org or (503) 378-0690 if you have questions.

Summary

After being postponed twice in three years, the Korea Organic Regulations are scheduled to become mandatory on January 1, 2014 and will require all imports to be directly certified to the Korea Standards. This will effectively shut out all imports of NOP organic product.

Products that have cleared customs in Korea before December 31, 2013 will be allowed to remain in the stream of commerce and be sold as organic in Korea after the January 1st date.

Who is affected?

All clients exporting either raw materials for further processing or finished, packaged products to Korea will be affected unless and until an official agreement between the US and Korean governments is announced.

What You Need to Do

If you choose to export product in anticipation of this trade barrier, be sure that your products clear customs before the December 31, 2013 deadline.

Background Information

The Korean Organic Regulations [KOR] have been voluntary for three years but have twice been postponed as required for imports that are not labeled in accordance with the KOR.  The Korean government has encouraged products to be certified to their standards. They are realizing however, that accrediting foreign certifiers to then dual certify products all the way up the supply chain to every farm is a logistically challenging and expensive proposition.  For this reason OTCO has chosen not to seek accreditation but to support equivalency efforts.

The latest version of the Korea organic regulations includes language that will allow and foster equivalency arrangements, however, formal talks between governments cannot begin until the new regulations take effect on January 1, 2014.  The National Organic Program [NOP], US Foreign Agriculture Service [FAS] and Organic Trade Association [ATO] are actively engaged with the Korean government with the goal of reaching an equivalency arrangement.  They speculate however that the process will likely take between six months and a year to bear fruit.

Staff at Oregon Tilth are prepared to process Transaction Certificates for exports to Korea as quickly as possible.  We will also continue to follow and report on developments, as well as to work on behalf of OTCO clients wherever possible.  Keep in mind that this remains a dynamic situation and that efforts to convince the Korean Government to delay implementation will continue.

Need More Information?

The Korea page of the OTA Global Trade Tool provides details of the Korea standards as well as news as it occurs; http://www.globalorganictrade.com/countries.php?idx=54

You are also always welcome to contact me through the OTCO office with the information listed at the top of this notice.

Thank you for your attention to this Notice.

Sincerely,
Jim Pierce
Global Certification Program Manager
503.779.9063
jim@tilth.org

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