Trade pact on organics seen helping Third World

Two agreements that will help farmers in poor countries participate more fully in the organic food sector were signed at a conference on development and trade, the U.N. announced Friday.

The agreements, which were reached last week during the two-day forum in Nuremberg, Germany, will help some two million certified organic farmers worldwide – most of whom are located in Africa, Asia and Latin America – participate more effectively in a market that rings up worldwide sales of $60 billion annually.

Wednesday, the European Union and the United States signed an agreement that will ease the flow of organic products from developing countries between the two entities. Under the agreement, the produce sent by organic farmers in developing countries to be processed in the European Union or the United States will now automatically qualify for acceptance as an organic product in the partner market.

Under the new arrangement, for example, coffee from Ethiopia certified as organic under European Union regulations could be sent to a trade partner in Europe and packaged for sale in both markets. The agreement however, covers only finished products exported from and certified in the European Union or United States.

In a news release, the U. N. Conference on Trade and Development stressed that while an agreement providing finished products from developing countries direct access to both markets would be preferable, the new accord will still boost developing-country organic sales as a large part of exports consist of ingredients and bulk goods, and it will facilitate their entry into the two largest markets for certified organic sales.

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