EU agrees to recognise UK organic standards until 2023

The UK is the world’s ninth largest organic market, figures show
The UK is the world’s ninth largest organic market, figures show

Farming groups have welcomed news that the agreed UK-EU trade deal includes an agreement on organic equivalence.

This means the bloc has agreed to recognise the UK as equivalent for organics until 31 December 2023.

This is further to the European Commission’s decision that the UK’s six organic certification bodies will be recognised as having equivalent organic standards.

The UK is the world’s ninth largest organic market and sales of organic produce to the EU are worth £225m every year.

Recognition will ensure continued access to vital EU and Northern Irish markets and bring certainty to producers.

NFU organic forum chair Andrew Burgess said: “We welcome the news that the trade deal included a technical annex on organic equivalence, meaning the EU and UK have agreed equivalency in organics until 31 December 2023.

“Exports to the EU have and always will be an important part of the UK organic supply chain and to be able to continue to export to that key market is a huge relief.

"This will provide longer-term certainty for those organic businesses who have been concerned about losing this valuable export market.”

Certification body Organic Farmers and Growers (OF&G) added it was 'pleased' that an agreement had been reached.

But it said the UK should now negotiate a further agreement to avoid the need for Certificates of Inspection for goods coming from and going to the EU from GB.

This would be similar to the arrangement Switzerland currently has with the EU: "This would further reduce the cost and bureaucratic burden of UK and EU businesses and help facilitate trade," Roger Kerr, OF&G CEO said.