US-EU Cooperation in Organic Trade
Although traditionally the US and EU approaches to organic production differ greater cooperation is bringing both markets into greater contact
August 18th, 2016
Vojtech Jirasek, CD News, CD News
As the US and EU organic food markets become ever more intertwined with economic deals, closer cooperation and communication is needed more than ever, especially between the US and Germany, the countries with the two biggest organic product markets in the world. At the beginning of last week, the Organic Trade Association hosted a seminar on the subject of this very topic.
The economy of the United States of America is historically based on consumption and mass production. With no lack of free space and definitely no lack of farm land, emphasis is put on mass production, widespread usage of manures and others means to increase the outcome.
The EU’s organic production is on the contrary based on brands such as “Bio”, low use of manures, healthy eating and small family farms. Germany in particular, is one of the flag bearers of the healthy lifestyle. Because the USA and the EU are huge markets of organic production and both parts of the world are closely cooperating together, the US-EU equivalency arrangement was signed in 2012. The arrangement broke down most of the trade barriers for organic foods created by two different certification schemes for the U.S. and the EU market. The US-EU equivalency arrangement has been a great example of how both sides of the Atlantic are able to work out trade while respecting both sides’ high standards.
On August 9, 2016 the Organic Trade Association hosted a seminar at the U.S. Embassy in Berlin. The seminar brought together key players from Germany and the U.S. The seminar showed that Germany and the United States have many organic market trends in common, with the US moving slowly towards European “Bio” trends. The fact that both markets have seen long term growth and organic farmers, processors and traders have seen the turn from niche market to the mainstream, was emphasized.
The organic food cooperation between the US and Germany, as well as with the rest of the EU, also has a deep cultural impact as many US citizens’ origins are in Europe. The US-EU cooperation allows many European, especially Italian, Spanish and France farmers to export their goods to the USA where the interest in food from the old continent such as wine, cheeses or olive oil is growing.