Welcome For EU-US Organic Agreement

Alyn Smith MEP, Scottish full member of the European Parliament's Agriculture and Rural Development Committee, has hailed the announcement of a single standard and certificate for organic produce sold in the EU and the USA as a great opportunity for Scotland's high quality producers to boost their export sales and revenues.

The trade deal, signed on Wednesday, streamlines the process by which organic produce, such as wine, meat and cereals can be traded between the two blocks, by removing the need for separate certifications. Products traded will need to be accompanied by an organic export certificate indicating the production location and organic certification body. The only exceptions relate to certain EU meat products, which are treated with antibiotics - antibiotic use is banned under this agreement.  

Scottish Government figures show that in 2009 there were over 600 organic producers and 200 organic processors in Scotland, covering 221,000 hectares of land and accounting for sales of over £55 million a year. Furthermore, Scotland accounts for 30% of the total organic land in the UK. European Commission statistics show that there is a 7% growth rate in the European organic sector each year.  

Alyn said:

"Scotland has always been renowned across the world for its high quality agricultural produce and environmentally sound production methods - the PGI status for Scotch Lamb and Scotch Beef being prime examples. I believe that the demand is there, and that our export potential has yet to be fully exploited, so agreements such as this one which makes it easier for Scottish producers to reach foreign markets are to be welcomed.

"It should make a significant contribution of helping Scotland reach its target of increasing the turnover of the food and drink sector. The organic sector is small, but is growing and will continue to grow despite the recession, because there is definite consumer demand for organic produce.

"I urge all of Scotland's organic producers to take heed of the new opportunities this agreement provides and to go for it."  

More information can be found at http://europa.eu/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=IP/12/138&format=HTML&aged=0&language=EN&guiLanguage=en