The certification requirement for organic exports from the United States to Mexico was not notified to the World Trade Organization (WTO), the US food and agriculture associations said.
On December 16, 2020, an accredited organic certification agency in the United States informed the Organic Trade Association that the National Service for Agrifood Health, Safety and Quality (SENASICA) would begin to require that all US organic exports to Mexico be certified for Organic standards of Mexico no later than December 28, 2020.
The associations argued that this requirement has not been notified to the WTO to allow for stakeholder comments and was never formally notified to the US government.
In a letter sent to the Secretary of Agriculture, Thomas Vilsack, and to the United States Trade Representative, Katherine Tai, leaders of 27 American food and agriculture associations express their concern about what they see as the rapid deterioration of the bilateral trade relationship.
Previously, USDA certified organic products could be exported to Mexico and sold as organic without additional certification.
Thanks to the efforts of the USDA/USTR, the United States was granted an extension until June 26, 2021.
However, the organizations added, even this is an extraordinarily short timeline for implementation.
If this policy is enforced, they argued, US organic growers will experience significant trade disruptions, as certification can take a year or more for organic companies to become certified to a new organic standard.
According to the associations, these unreported technical barriers to trade will increase the costs of organic exports to Mexico, which include significant personnel costs, paperwork, and new certification and inspection costs, while Mexican exporters continue to enjoy market access. Americans.
Mexico is the world’s second-largest market for U.S. organic exports, importing more than $ 117 million of U.S. organic products in 2020.
For organizations, the current schedule for organic export certification is not feasible for US companies and, if implemented, will cause significant business interruptions and losses for US organic exporters.
In addition, Senasica has not provided clarity on which products specifically will be required to be certified, whether the policy includes all organics or only a select group.