Two things have happened recently that will make international organic product trade more convenient: the Global Organic Textile Standards (GOTS) Working Group decided to adopt the International Requirements for Organic Certification Bodies (IROCB) as the basic qualification requirements for certification bodies; Canada and the United States have reached an agreement to accept the certification made by the certification body recognized under the import system of the other party. Not everyone thinks it is a good idea to make the organic product trade more convenient, but the organic standard (TOS) has always believed that the differences between the organic standard and the compliance assessment procedures in various markets are not particularly large, so it should not be used as a basis for excluding completely legal organic products from a certain market.
The International Requirements for Organic Certification Bodies (IROCB), formulated by the International Working Group on Coordination and Equivalence of Organic Production, is a global standard for assessing the functional compliance of organic certification bodies. Although the new EU regulations have opened the door to actually accept the international requirements of the organic certification body IROCB, the speed of its recognition is still a little slow at present. From the current point of view, the organic textile industry may be the first to explicitly confirm IROCB. As there is no regulation on organic textiles in most countries, it is easy to achieve this. The agreement signed between the United States and Canada to recognize certification bodies approved by either party has created a situation where certification bodies can be recognized worldwide once they are recognized. Canada has accepted the International Organic Accreditation Center (IOAS) as a Canadian recognized standard, which makes it in a very strategic position and is very likely to expand its business.
When the Canadian government approves a certification body based on the assessment of the International Organic Accreditation Center (IOAS), it will be difficult for USDA to maintain its position that it cannot accept the International Organic Accreditation Center (IOAS) as an accreditation body. For many years, IOAS has been recognized by the National Institute of Standards and Technology of the United States (its role is to accredit institutions). It would be better if the scope of accreditation was extended to include organic standards at an appropriate time, that is, the accreditation model of the International Organic Agriculture Movement Alliance could be used for one-stop service, which is the original intention of the system. These trends in IOAS may lead to calls for more transparency in its procedures, such as more formal participation of governments in IOAS through public assessment reports. This is a better way for IOAS to establish its reputation than having to go through high cost technical evaluation, peer review or other multi party recognition. Unfortunately, other countries are going in the opposite direction. When the Korean Food and Drug Administration initially accepted the organic certificate issued by the certification body recognized by the International Organic Agriculture Movement Alliance and the certification body recognized by the government, it intended to make 328 foreign certification bodies recognized by South Korea in a short time. But now South Korea has decided to follow the example of Japan, the European Union and the United States to establish its own approval/accreditation procedures. Although the United States is promoting these countries to change this system (see Organic Standard 101), it is the United States that has set its own approval system for entering its market. The consequences of Korean laws and regulations confirm the warnings issued more than 10 years ago by the International Organic Agriculture Movement Alliance, the International Organization for the Coordination and Unification of Organic Agriculture and other institutions. The United States can show its leadership by opening its own system and then asking other countries to do the same.
We are waiting (with great interest) for how the EU will approve those certification bodies that seek recognition based on the principle of equivalence. The EU holds one of the most important keys to support the global organic assurance system. Let's expect them to use the key to open the door instead of locking it. Finally, we welcome Miles, the new head of NOP in the United States Mike Evney took office. Mr. Mike Evney has a good record in showing the cooperation between government agencies and American non-governmental industries. He is also one of the few American officials who personally participated in the international dialogue and contacted the International Alliance of Organic Agriculture Movements.