January 26, 2016
Organic Trade Pacts Boost US Organic Exports
An Organic Trade Association (OTA) report published last year finds an almost 60% upswing in US organic exports to Canada, the European Union and major Asian trade partners as a result of international trade pacts. U.S. organic exporters have greatly benefited from international accords that have promoted the trade of organic products since 2009.
The report, conducted by Dr. Edward Jaenicke, Associate Professor of Agricultural Economics at Penn State University, finds that from 2011-2014, U.S. organic exports have annually increased by 58% over what exports would have been without any agreements in place. The study was designed to single out organic equivalency policy to scientifically evaluate whether the policy is having its intended results.
The OTA is an official cooperator in USDA’s Market Access Program (MAP) to promote U.S. organic products abroad and to reduce trade barriers for U.S. organic stakeholders. As such the OTA was tasked with working with U.S. trade officials and organic stakeholders to negotiate the trade pacts. The overall goal has been to increase business opportunities for the U.S. organic sector, and according to the OTA, the results of paying off.
Annual U.S. organic exports are estimated at $3.2 billion. Since the implementation of the trade equivalency arrangements, U.S. organic exports to the EU have risen by 44 percent, to Japan by 17 percent, and to Canada by 14 percent. In dollar value, organic apples, lettuce, grapes, spinach and strawberries are the top five organic exports, and organic coffee and soybeans are the top organic imports.