OTA applauds initial tracking of U.S. organic imports and exports - Organic Trade Association
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OTA applauds initial tracking of U.S. organic imports and exports


Encourages companies to suggest further commodities for inclusion

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Jan. 12, 2012)—The U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) recently released its preliminary copy of the 2012 Harmonized Tariff Schedule to reflect new classifications and up-to-date tariff information (see posting by Federal Produce Policy.) Included are four additional organic items to those tracked during 2011.

The codes just released are the second set of trade codes provided for select organic products with the help and advocacy of the Organic Trade Association (OTA). They include the addition of organic cabbage, cucumbers and grapefruit to the list of U.S. exports tracked. Also, organic honey has been added to the list of U.S. imports to be tracked in 2012.

The first round of organic trade codes, released by the Commerce Department’s U.S. Census Bureau in January 2011, introduced 23 trade codes for U.S. organic exports and 20 trade codes for U.S. organic imports. All but two of the trade codes for organic exports in the first round were for fresh fruits or vegetables, while most of the organic import codes were for coffee, soybeans, tea and other non-horticultural commodities. The organic import codes are incorporated in the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States on the U.S. International Trade Commission’s website, while the organic export codes are incorporated into Schedule B of the U.S. Census Bureau.

An inter-agency committee, the 484(f) Committee, reviews requests for changes to the statistical reporting requirements of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule for imports and the Schedule B for exports. Each year, it accepts proposals no later than April 1 for July revisions and by Aug. 1 for January revisions. The new breakouts went into effect Jan. 1.

As OTA plays a crucial role in submitting organic commodities for possible inclusion in the Harmonized Tariff Schedule, it encourages its members and other companies in the organic industry to suggest organic items to be considered. To do so for the committee’s next deadline of April 1, contact Jessica Poingt, OTA’s International Trade Manager.

The Organic Trade Association (OTA) is the membership-based business association for organic agriculture and products in North America. OTA is the leading voice for the organic trade in the United States, representing over 6,500 organic businesses across 49 states. Its members include growers, shippers, processors, certifiers, farmers' associations, distributors, importers, exporters, consultants, retailers and others. OTA’s Board of Directors is democratically elected by its members. OTA's mission is to promote and protect the growth of organic trade to benefit the environment, farmers, the public and the economy.

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