International Trade with Mexico

Trade of organic products between the U.S. and Mexico is significant and growing. In 2015, U.S. exports of selected organic products to Mexico totaled more than $154 million, while U.S. organic imports from Mexico during that same time topped $141 million. Since Harmonized Tariff Schedule Codes do not track many organic products, the actual value of organic trade between the two countries is undoubtedly much higher.

Organic Standards

Organic products currently exported from Mexico into the U.S. must be certified to the USDA organic regulations. Two dozen USDA-accredited certifiers operate in Mexico and more than 1,600 USDA-certified organic operations operating within its borders.

In October 2013, Mexico published implementing guidelines and regulations for organic production and marketing, which will be fully implemented in April 2017. These regulations require all organic products sold in Mexico to be certified under the Mexican organic standards or under an organic equivalency arrangement. The USDA and Mexico’s National Service for Animal and Plant Health, Food Safety and Quality (SENASICA) are evaluating each other’s systems to determine whether an organic equivalency arrangement could be established between the US and Mexico.

Importing Organic Products to the U.S.

Organic products imported to the U.S. from Mexico must be certified to the USDA organic regulations. In October 2016, the USDA and SENASICA established an agreement requiring import certificates for all organic products traded between the two countries.

Certified organic handlers shipping organic products to the United States from Mexico should provide a National Organic Program (NOP) Import Certificate to the certified handler receiving the products in the U.S. Certified handlers located in the U.S. should expect to receive an NOP Import Certificate for organic products they receive from Mexico. A USDA-accredited certifying agent must complete the NOP Import Certificate.

The webinars hosted on January 10, 2017 presented content that was substantially the same.
Access: Recording | Slides (pdf)

Exporting Organic to Mexico

USDA-certified products may be exported to Mexico. Contact an accredited certifying agent for assistance with the requirements for exporting organic products to Mexico. In the coming months, Mexico will implement its own requirement for organic products shipped from the United States. The U.S. and Mexico hope to sign an equivalence arrangement to allow USDA-certified product to continue to be sold in Mexico under an organic equivalence arrangement.

Labeling Requirements

Retail product labels or stickers must state the name of the U.S. certifying agent and may use the USDA Organic seal.

Oversight

As part of their work towards organic equivalency, the United States and Mexico have formed a Joint U.S.-Mexico Organic Compliance Committee to strengthen monitoring and enforcement controls on organic products traded between the two countries.

Additional Resources