Currently there are three different systems for importing organic products into the EU:
1. Equivalent Third Countries
Countries whose system of organic production complies with the principles and production rules set out in the EU organic regulations and whose control measures are of equivalent effectiveness to those laid down in EU organic regulations. Today some products categories from 11 countries are deemed to meet these conditions: Argentina, Australia, Canada, Costa Rica, India, Israel, Japan, Switzerland, Tunisia, the United States and New Zealand. For each country, the regulation specifies which product categories, origin and production standards are accepted, as well as the competent authority and recognised control bodies in that country.
2. Control Bodies recognised for the purpose of equivalence
For countries where there is not an equivalent organic regulation, a list of Control Bodies and Control Authorities competent to carry out controls and issue certificates for the purpose of equivalence is defined in Annex IV of Commission Regulation (EC) No 1235/2008. This system came into force on 1 July 2012 and facilitates the import of organic products from these countries.
3. Countries and categories of products not covered by 1 or 2
For countries and products that are not deemed equivalent and for which there are no recognised Control Bodies, an Import Authorisation needs to be issued by the Ministry of Agriculture of the EU Member State importing the products. This system for import is a transitional measure aimed at facilitating the transition from previously existing system.
The import system is governed by Implementing Regulation (EC) No 1235/2008.
Regulation (EC) No 1235/2008 - consolidated version of 1 January 2014
You can find the complete list of regulations published on this page.
To export organic products outside the EU as organic, the products must comply with the national organic standards of the country of destination. Equivalency agreements greatly facilitate the export of organic products from the EU. Agreements exist with the main organic importers, including the United States, Canada and Japan.