The fast-growing organic market of Taiwan is poised to grow even faster. On Thursday, the United States and Taiwan reached an organic equivalence arrangement to enable increased trade between the two regions. Taiwan is already the fifth largest export market for U.S. organic products.

The new bilateral equivalency arrangement removes previous barriers for exporters, providing an opportunity for U.S. organic products to gain a greater share in the Taiwanese marketplace. Taiwan’s imports of U.S. organic products have increased sharply in the past few years, with imports totaling over $90 million in 2019, and are forecast to grow by almost 50 percent over the next five years.

“We are pleased to see the enthusiasm from both the U.S. and Taiwanese governments to reduce trade barriers for organic products and ensure more consumers have access to the wide variety of high-quality organic goods the U.S. can provide,” said Laura Batcha, Executive Director and CEO of the Organic Trade Association.

Alexis Carey, International Trade Manager for the trade association, added,  “Taiwan is a solid consumer market for U.S. organic products, and exporters should view this renewed partnership as an opportunity to further expand into a country that is eager for organic. We will be providing resources and trade activities for exporters as they explore potential business opportunities with Taiwan.”

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Leading the list of organic product imports by Taiwan are fresh produce, including apples, lettuce, grapes, cauliflower and celery, and processed products. The new arrangement enables an expansion of existing fresh fruit, vegetable and processed food trade, and provides new market access opportunities for organic livestock and other products. The arrangement also allows U.S.-based organic food processors to source Taiwan certified organic ingredients, increasing the range of organic products available to consumers.

The U.S. has had an export trade relationship with Taiwan in which some American-produced organic products could be exported to Taiwan and sold in their marketplace without additional certification. However, exporters still faced significant barriers due to strict Taiwanese import policies on food and agricultural products, including a de facto zero tolerance policy for traces of any unapproved substances.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) and the Organic Trade Association will be holding a meeting for interested exporters in the coming weeks to discuss details of the new arrangement and answer any questions. The timing has yet to be set at this point.

Earlier this year, Taiwan signed organic equivalence arrangements with Japan and Australia, This latest agreement will allow U.S .organic companies to compete with other regional players in the Taiwanese market. The Organic Trade Association previously conducted a market tour in Taiwan with U.S. certifiers, and completed an export manual detailing the procedure for U.S. exports to Taiwan. The trade association plans to update this export manual with information from the new arrangement over the next year.

The trade association is planning marketing activities in Taiwan in 2021 in light of the new arrangement and to grow the current trade relationship. Likely activities will include a trade mission to Taipei.