The U.S. has an organic equivalence arrangement with Korea for organic processed foods. This means that, as long as the terms of the arrangement are met, certified organic operations in Korea or in the U.S. may sell their products as organic in either country.
This equivalence arrangement is limited to country-to-country trade. For U.S. exports: It is limited to products certified to the USDA organic regulations that have had their final processing occur within the U.S. For Korea exports: It is limited to products certified to the Korea organic regulations that have had their final processing occur on Korea.
Allowed product categories: Processed Products - as defined by the Korean Food Code (zip file - Open Chapter 1, see definition of “Processed food”)
Terms of the Arrangement. Generally, USDA and Korea certified organic processed products are eligible for trade under this equivalence, but there are some stipulations.
- Agricultural products derived from animals treated with antibiotics may not be exported to the United States as certified organic.
Documentation – Exports of U.S. Organic Products. Products exported to Korea under the arrangement must be accompanied by an NAQS Import Certificate of Organic Processed Foods. The NAQS Import Certificate must be issued by Korea’s e-NAQS Import Certificate System. For questions about the e-NAQS Import Certificate System or for assistance creating a user account, contact Korea’s help desk at: firstname.lastname@example.org. View a sample of the NAQS Import Certificate.
U.S. operations should inform their USDA-accredited certifying agent that they wish to ship products to Korea. Certifying agents issue the NAQS Import Certificate in the e-NAQS system and provide a printed copy of the form to the operator to accompany the shipment at the port of entry. The documentation must include this statement: “Certified in compliance with the terms of the U.S.-Korea Organic Equivalency Arrangement.”
Documentation – Imports of Korean Organic Products. Products exported to the U.S. under the arrangement must be accompanied by:
NOP Import Certificate (pdf)
, issued by a Korean Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (MAFRA)-accredited certification body. Instructions (pdf)
. The documentation must include this statement: “Certified in compliance with the terms of the U.S.-Korea Organic Equivalency Arrangement.”
U.S. labeling Requirements.
Korean products processed under the terms of the arrangement must be labeled according to USDA organic labeling requirements and may display the USDA organic seal and/or Korean organic food label. Organic Labeling
| USDA Organic Seal
Korean Labeling Requirements.
U.S. products produced under the arrangement must be labeled according to MAFRA’s organic labeling requirements and may display the Korean organic food label and/or USDA organic seal. Korean labeling requirements
| Korean Organic Seal
(links open zip files on Korean website)
Oversight. The U.S. and Korea will conduct reviews and audits of each other’s systems on a regular basis to ensure that the arrangement upholds organic integrity. Both parties will notify each other of any changes which could affect the terms of the arrangement. Any concerns will be addressed by a joint Organics Working Group, which will include experts from both countries.
Peer Reviews. The U.S. and Korea will conduct mutual peer reviews under the arrangement.