Arrangement between Switzerland and the USA facilitates trade in organic products

Bern, 09.07.2015 - Switzerland and the USA have reached agreement on mutual recognition of each other’s standards for organic products. Federal Councillor Johann N. Schneider-Ammann signed the equivalence arrangement negotiated between the Swiss Federal Office for Agriculture (FOAG) and the United States Department of Agriculture yesterday in Washington. The arrangement facilitates trade in organic products. It comes into force with immediate effect.

Mutual recognition granted by the arrangement will have a positive impact. Trade in organic products will be simplified and facilitated. The arrangement will open up the USA's fast-growing market in organic products to the Swiss organic sector and current disadvantages relative to EU competitors, who already profit from a similar arrangement with the USA, will disappear. This is of great importance for a number of companies in the Swiss food industry who have been waiting for some time for an arrangement to be concluded. The arrangement will also result in a reduction in administrative charges and costs for operators.

The equivalence arrangement applies to organic products which have been grown or produced, processed or packaged in Switzerland or the USA. Products which have been imported into the USA or Switzerland in accordance with their own legislation and are further processed or packaged there also fall within the scope of the arrangement.

By analogy to the arrangement between the USA and the EU, restrictions apply to organic animal products from Switzerland such as for example cheese or dried meat, which must come from animals which have not been treated with antibiotics. Furthermore, organic wines from the USA or Switzerland must comply with the special production and labelling rules laid down in the organic farming regulations of the country of destination. However, there is no need for separate certification for either animal products or wine. 

The equivalence arrangement consists of mutual recognition of the equivalence of each other's legislation by means of an exchange of letters between the competent authorities of the USA and Switzerland. The arrangement was signed by Federal Councillor Johann N. Schneider-Ammann on behalf of Switzerland. Krysta Harden, Deputy Secretary of the USDA and Darci Vetter, Chief Agricultural Negotiator at the Office of the US Trade Representative, signed on behalf of the USA.

Address for enquiries

Patrik Aebi, Bundesamt für Landwirtschaft BLW
Leiter Fachbereich Qualitäts- und Absatzförderung
Tel. +41 58 462 25 92

Priska Dittrich, Bundesamt für Landwirtschaft BLW
Fachbereich Qualitäts- und Absatzförderung
Tel. + 41 58 463 02 18

Communication Service EAER
+41 58 462 20 07


Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research

Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research