Switzerland and Canada expand organic trade deal

By Niamh Michail contact

- Last updated on GMT

© iStock/Benguhan
© iStock/Benguhan

Related tags: Organic products, Organic food, International trade, Switzerland

The Swiss and Canadian governments have recognised the equivalency of their organic standards for multi-ingredient processed products.

Under the updated deal, which will come into effect tomorrow (1 October 2016), organic manufacturers can now export multi-ingredient processed products to Canada and Switzerland.

It also recognises the standards for organic wine in both countries as equivalent.

A statement from OFAG, Switzerland’s federal office for agriculture said: “This expanded deal will clearly improve the trade rules between Switzerland and Canada, boosting trade of organic agricultural products [and] will notably facilitate market access for Swiss exporters of processed organic products.”

Canada's minister of agriculture and agri-food Lawrence MacAulay said: "In today's global trade environment, this arrangement is great news for Canadian organic processors and producers who will particularly benefit from Switzerland's processed food and beverage market. Creating opportunities for Canadian businesses is important to maintaining a healthy economy and growing the middle class."

The two countries first came to an agreement on the equivalence of their organic certification systems in 2012.

The Bio Bud boom

bio suisse
© Bio Suisse

Switzerland has a developed organic market, worth CAD $2.66 billion (€1.8bn) in 2014, with a 7.5% growth rate.

According to IFOAM EU, Switzerland has the highest per capita consumption of organic products in the world, and the organic sector’s market share is 6.3% - “larger than in most other countries.

General retailers also dominate the retail landscape for organic products, making up 77.9% of sales (which come mainly from supermarkets Coop and Migros) while specialised retailers account for 12.5% of sales, according to IFOAM figures.

According to Bio Suisse, around 60% of organic products sold in Switzerland have the country's official ‘Bio Bud’ logo.

More than 800 processing and trade companies have a licence contract with Bio Suisse to use the label, however it restricts use of the logo for foreign products under certain conditions, such as if the domestic supply is already sufficient; if the goods have been imported by air (land or sea transport are authorised) and if the entire processing has been carried out abroad.

If you wish to export organic products to Switzerland and use the bud logo, a list of requirements can be read here.

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