OTTAWA, ON--(Marketwired - September 23, 2014) - After intensive discussions between the Japan Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, Japan and Canada have agreed on an equivalency in organic products. An in-depth review and on-site audit of each other's rules for organic production concluded that the organic standards and enforcement regimes of Japan and Canada meet the same objectives, allowing organic products to be sold in both countries.

The exchange of letters between Canada and Japan took place on September 16, 2014. Today, Canada's Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Gerry Ritz formally announced the arrangement.

"The Japan Agricultural Standard (JAS) for organic products are very strict: this recognition of Canada's organic system reaffirms that Canada's organic standards are among the most-recognized and widely respected in the world," said Matthew Holmes, Executive Director of the Canada Organic Trade Association (COTA).

The United States, European Union, Switzerland and Costa Rica formally recognize Canada's organic standards. With Japan, these markets equal 95% of the world's $64 billion in annual organic sales.

"This is exciting and long-awaited news for Canada's organic sector," Holmes noted, "Japan is the largest organic market in Asia and demand is very high for the many quality organic products that Canada supplies, particularly maple syrup, specialty-roasted coffee, soybeans, and cereal grains. The government's leadership has ensured our producers enjoy privileged market access, while saving Canadian organic farms and businesses the needless costs of additional inspections and redundant certification."

Canadian organic products that can be exported to Japan include plant and plant-based products that are JAS eligible, as well as animal products and animal-based processed products outside the JAS system's scope. The respective countries' organic logos will be authorized for use in each other's markets.

The Canada Organic Trade Association is the membership-based association for the organic sector in Canada, representing growers, shippers, processors, certifiers, farmers' associations, distributors, importers, exporters, consultants, retailers and others in the organic value chain. COTA's mission is to promote and protect the growth of organic trade to benefit the environment, farmers, the public and the economy.

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Contact Information:

For further information:
Matthew Holmes
Executive Director
Canada Organic Trade Association