Introducing the Organic Equivalence Tracker: a Global List of Equivalence Agreements
IFOAM - Organics International is pleased to announce the launch of the Organic Equivalence Tracker, the first ever comprehensive list of global equivalence agreements enabling the trade of organic products between countries. This tracker is now available on our website as a freely accessible tool.
We have been promoting harmonization and equivalence in organic agriculture since 2002 through various international events and projects. Of particular note is our partnership with the UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the International Task Force on Harmonization and Equivalence in Organic Agriculture (2003-2008), and the Global Organic Market Access project (2009-2012). These various projects have helped build networks of government and private sector stakeholders around the topic, raising its profile and contributing recommendations as well as solutions for trade facilitation.
During this time, IFOAM - Organics International has tracked the development of equivalence arrangements between governments and trade partners. This information is now published online as the Organic Equivalence Tracker. The tracker is intended to serve as the global nexus for information on equivalence arrangements and the tool is relevant for governments, producers, traders, certifiers, consultants, researchers, and policy advocates interested in the trade of organic products.
What does the Tracker look like?
The Organic Equivalence Tracker is organized as an interactive table displaying all countries participating in unilateral and bilateral arrangements. By clicking on a country in the table's left-hand column, visitors are able to view all equivalence arrangements and related details for that country.
What is an Equivalence Agreement?
An equivalence arrangement is the mechanism that enables the trade of organic products between countries with organic regulations. The main impact of an equivalence arrangement is the acknowledgement that regulations of the exporting country are equivalent to the importing country insofar as they are deemed to meet the objectives of the importing country’s organic regulations. Equivalence arrangements can be:
- Unilateral – one country decides the equivalence of another country’s regulation without reciprocation
- Bilateral – both countries reciprocally acknowledge the equivalence of each other’s regulations
In the case of bilateral arrangements, the equivalence tracker displays similar information for each country in the agreement, although variations in specific details reflect whether information is applicable for export or import by the listed country.
What information can I find in the Tracker?
The equivalence tracker currently contains 17 entries, 16 of which are countries and one of which is a regional entity: the European Union (EU). The EU entity includes all 36 full members of the European Cooperation for Accreditation.
The tracker also includes information on trade facilitation measures between some countries that have not yet established any equivalence arrangements, but nevertheless have adopted provisions facilitating inter-country trade. For instance, the United States of America recognizes governments of certain trading partners to oversee domestic certification bodies within their respective jurisdictions for the purpose of export to the United States of America.
Who do I contact with Questions?
This tracker is a living tool that will be updated regularly by the IFOAM - Organic International Policy & Guarantee team. We encourage sector experts to send us submission updates. Your updates can be sent directly to Joelle Katto-Andrighetto via email at j.katto [at] ifoam.bio (subject: Update%20for%20the%20Organic%20Equivalence%20Tracker, body: Dear%20Ms.%20Katto-Andrighetto%2C%20%0A%0A) .