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GOMA Project Advances: Asia makes commitments to regional cooperation on organic trade

Government and private sector participants from 12 countries in East, South-East and South Asia, meeting at a workshop in Shanghai, People’s Republic of China, from 27-29 May 2010, have declared their intent to move forward on concrete measures to reduce and avoid barriers to trade of organic products in their Region.

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The workshop was convened under the auspices of the Food and Agriculture Organisation FAO/ International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movments IFOAM/ United Nations Conference on Trade and Development UNCTAD Global Organic Market Access (GOMA) project.

Commitments were made on three approaches to facilitating trade within the Region and beyond; these are harmonization of standards, equivalence of standards and conformity assessment systems, and cooperation among the Region’s certification and accreditation bodies.

The workshop decided to create a regional working group to create and oversee a plan for moving forward on the three approaches. One of the first activities will be to lay the groundwork for the development of a harmonized regional standard, which could be adopted by several or all of the Region’s countries as a harmonized standard and/or serve as the basis for equivalence of organic standards within the Region. The working group will also identify specific bilateral and multilateral opportunities for countries to assess equivalence with one another, using two Tools that were developed from past FAO/IFOAM/UNCTAD cooperation. 

These are the Guide for Assessing Equivalence of Organic Standards and Technical Regulations (EquiTool) and the International Requirements for Organic Certification Bodies (IROCB)

An initial meeting of the working group will be held in Mumbai at BioFach India/India Organic in December 2010. The IFOAM Organic World Congress in September 2011 was identified as the target date for announcing complete achievement or substantial progress on the harmonized standard, equivalence agreements and cooperation among conformity assessment bodies.

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Contact

Diane Bowen
International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements IFOAM
Global Organic Market Access GOMA
Postal address: 9150 N. Santa Monica Blvd., Milwaukee, WI, 53217, US
Tel. +1 414 352 5789
Fax +1 253 669 7921
E-mail d.bowen(at)ifoam.org
Internet www.goma-organic.org

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