Present at the announcement were Mr. Satoshi Kunii, Director, Labeling Standards Division, and Mr. Takuro Mukae, Associate Director, Sanitary and Phytosanitary Affairs, of Japan’s Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries (MAFF) for Japan, and Administrator Anne Alonzo of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service and Ambassador Isi Siddiqui of the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative for the United States. (Photo: ) U.S. officials noted the organic equivalence arrangement will reopen the important Japanese consumer market for U.S. organic producers of all sizes, and will create jobs and opportunity for the U.S. organic food and farming sector. “This monumental agreement will further create jobs in the already growing U.S. organic sector, spark additional market growth, and be mutually beneficial to producers both in the United States and Japan and to consumers who choose organic products,” said Laura Batcha, Executive Vice President of the U.S.-based Organic Trade Association (OTA). Assessments conducted in Japan and the United States leading up to the signing found organic management, accreditation, certification and enforcement programs are in place in both countries, and conform to each other’s respective programs. The first two-way trade agreement in Asia also marks the first organic equivalency arrangement without organic standards exceptions.
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