Import & export rules


Currently there are two 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 13 countries are deemed to meet these conditions: Argentina, Australia, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, India, Israel, Japan, Republic of Korea, 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/Authorities 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.

A third system based on Control Bodies/Authorities recognised for the purpose of compliance was supposed to enter into force in 2011/2012 but has been continuosly postponed. Currently it is foreseen to enter into application in 2019/2020.

The import system is governed by Implementing Regulation (EC) No 1235/2008.

Regulation (EC) No 1235/2008 - consolidated version

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, Japan and Republic of Korea.