* Mutual recognition of organic products from June
* Deal covers all agricultural goods except fish, seafood
* Use of antibiotics in production excluded from deal
By Charlie Dunmore
BRUSSELS, Feb 15 A deal announced on
Wednesday to allow organically produced goods certified in
Europe or the United States to be sold as organic in both
regions is expected to boost transatlantic trade in the growth
food sector, officials said.
The mutual recognition agreement by the world's two largest
organic producers will take effect from June and is designed to
increase market access for organic farmers and exporters in both
regions by reducing costs and bureaucracy.
"We expect there will be a growth in trade as a result of
this agreement," Kathleen Merrigan, U.S. Deputy Agriculture
Secretary, told Reuters in a telephone interview on Wednesday.
"We think this is extremely positive for the organic
marketplace, for consumers and farmers alike."
Under the agreement, products including meat, cereals and
wine that receive organic certification in one region can
automatically be labelled and sold as organic in the other.
The agreement covers all agricultural products apart from
fish and seafood but excludes any goods that use antibiotics
during production, which means that some EU-produced meat and
U.S. apples and pears will not qualify.
"We tried to prove that we will not block the negotiations
for this big agreement only because of specific things," Dacian
Ciolos, EU agriculture commissioner, told Reuters.
The global market for organic products was valued at 45
billion euros ($59 billion) in 2010 by Organic Monitor, which
said annual sales growth remained healthy, despite a slowdown in
the wake of the 2008 financial crisis.
Together the EU and United States account for 90 percent of
global organic consumption, the European Commission said.
"This agreement between the two biggest markets in organic
production can have a positive impact on the development of
organic agriculture around the world," Ciolos said.
"It will also be good for our consumers, because by reducing
bureaucracy with this agreement we can also reduce costs,
especially transactional costs."
The chief agricultural negotiator for the U.S. Trade
Representative, Isi Siddiqui, said the agreement would
particularly benefit smaller organic producers by reducing
"Larger operations can compete quite easily, but I think
that this deal will make it easier for small and medium-sized
organic producers to access new markets, because we are removing
those barriers," he said.
Rules on organic farming in Europe and the U.S. virtually
prohibit the use of synthetic chemicals in crop production, ban
the use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and promote
livestock practices specifically adapted to an animal's natural
($1 = 0.7616 euros)
(Editing by Jane Baird)