Korean Exports – US/Korea Equivalence Arrangement

Korean Organic Logo

If you would like to export organic products to Korea, CCOF can help. On July 1, 2014, the USDA National Organic Program (NOP) and the Korean Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (MAFRA) signed an organic standards equivalency arrangement.

This arrangement only covers processed products, as defined by the Korean Food Code, produced in either country. Raw or unprocessed products cannot be traded between the United States and Korea through this .

Achieve compliance verification to the U.S./Korea Equivalence Arrangement by enrolling in the Global Market Access (GMA) program for Korea. Send a completed GMA application to inbox@ccof.org to enroll in the program!

You need to enroll in the GMA program for Korea if you:

  • Export or plan to export CCOF certified organic products to Korea from the United States
  • Design labels for products that will be sold in Korea
  • Sell CCOF certified organic products to any buyer who requires international verification certification for Korea

Terms of the US/Korea Equivalence Arrangement

  • NOP-certified products from the United States that meet the critical variances and arrangement terms can be shipped to Korea and use the Korean Organic logo.
  • Korean certified organic products from Korea that meet the critical variances and the arrangement terms can be shipped to the United States and use the USDA NOP logo.
  • Products must be either produced within the United States or Korea, or have final processing occur within the United States or Korea.
  • Both the USDA organic seal and the Korean organic logo may be used on certified products from either location, in addition to the certifier’s logo.
  • Product labels must comply with destination market labeling regulations. Visit our Labeling and Logos page for guidance
  • Product exported to Korea must be accompanied by an NAQS Import Certificate of Organic Processed Foods. Product imported from Korea must have an NOP Import Certificate sent as well. Visit our exporter guidance page for more details and links to these forms.

Critical Variances for Product Entering Korea

  • Apples and pears must be produced without antibiotics.
  • Only processed products, as defined by the Korean Food Code, are allowed to be exported to Korea.
Critical Variances for Product entering the United States
  • Livestock products must be produced without antibiotics, as verified by the supplier’s certifier.
Exclusions to the US/Korea Equivalence Arrangement
  • Organic raw or unprocessed products are not allowed to be exported under this arrangement.

Korean Food Code Definition of "Processed Food"

"Refers to a food manufactured, processed, and packaged by adding food or food additives to food raw materials (agricultural, forestry, livestock, or marine products), transforming food raw materials (such as grinding or cutting) till their original forms cannot be recognized, or mixing such transformed ones or adding food or food additives to such mixture. However, where, without the use of food additives or other materials, the agricultural, forestry, livestock, or marine products are simply cut, peeled, salted, ripened, or heated (except the cases where heating is performed for sterilization or heating causes significant changes to those products) till their original forms can be recognized or where sanitary risks from treatment processes are not expected and food raw materials are simply treated so as to allow organoleptic identification of food quality, such food products are excluded from the definition of the processed food.” 

Additional Equivalence Arrangement Resources

Korean Labeling Requirements and Use of the Korean Organic Logo

CCOF has developed a helpful International Market Labeling Guide to explain labeling requirements for organic products sold in Korea. All products shipped to Korea must meet Korean labeling requirements. Send all labels to CCOF for approval prior to printing. To learn more, read the MAFRA Organic logo and labeling information instructions.
Download the Korean logo and learn more about international labeling requirements by visiting our Labeling and Logos page. Use of the Korean logo is optional for imported products. If the Korean logo is used, additional requirements apply. 
All product destined for Korea must include the following on the label:
  • Manufacturer Name and client code, including for private label products.
  • Packaged in: USA
  • Certifier Name
  • Client Code
  • Telephone number of the Seller or Importer