TAIPEI, TAIWAN -- Taiwan’s Council of Agriculture (COA) released draft legislation on Nov. 9 that would streamline all organic regulations and oversight, including those for imported products.

Currently, regulation of organic products in Taiwan derives from several different pieces of legislation. Through the new draft legislation, COA authorities seek to streamline all organic regulations and oversight, similar to the USDA’s management of organic agriculture under the National Organic Program (NOP). The U.S. is Taiwan’s #1 foreign source of organic agriculture/food products with trade in 2014 valued at $16 million.

Of particular interest, the draft text mandates bilateral organic equivalency, effectively reneging any historical (unilateral) organic equivalency recognition that may exist between Taiwan and other trading partners. At this point, no country recognizes Taiwan’s organic system, while Taiwan recognizes several, including the United States’. Taiwan applied to USDA’s NOP for organic equivalency recognition earlier this year, but NOP has yet to yield a determination.

The draft text is currently available for local, public review and comment. Taiwan authorities promised U.S. counterparts the measure will be notified to the World Trade Organization (WTO) for a 60-day member review and comment period as the new regulation will impact U.S. organic exports to Taiwan.