A new deal between Japan and the United States could mean more inexpensive, organic options available to consumers in both countries.
The agreement makes it easier for the two countries to import and export organic food. Food will be able to be certified as organic in one country, and then sold in both. This will mean more, and most likely cheaper, organic options for consumers in both countries.
This isn't the first time that different countries decide to come to such an agreement. The US has essentially the same agreement with Canada, and last year Canada signed one with the European Union.
Organic certifications in the two countries are fairly similar, except that Japan has not allowed its organics to be produced with lignin sulfonate (used for fruit after they are harvested) or alkali-extracted humic acid (a fertilizer), both of which the US allows.
Clearly the agreement will be good for business. Currently, US organic sales to Japan total about $80 million, but the USDA estimates that the new agreement could boost that number to almost triple over the next 10 years coming out at $250 million a year. More exports will mean more jobs to be built within the organic sector.
But the deal also good for the consumer; since companies will no longer have to pay for certifications in both countries, those savings will be passed along to the customer, meaning cheaper organic options as well as more diverse ones. The most popular organic items are green tea, sakes and mushrooms, so we can certainly expect to see more.
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Image: Vera Yu and David Li