AMS Hosts Meeting of Regional Organic Authorities Focused on Development and Trade in the Organic Sector

u s d a ag marketing service national organic program organic insider

AMS Hosts Meeting of International Organic Authorities Focused on Development and Trade in the Organic Sector

ICOA Assembly

Assembly of the Inter-American Commission for Organic Agriculture

The United States, represented by the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) National Organic Program (NOP), hosted the 9th annual meeting of the Inter-American Commission for Organic Agriculture (ICOA) on July 17-21, 2017 in Portland, Oregon. The Organic Trade Association (OTA) partnered with AMS to develop an engaging agenda and to provide participants with valuable tools that they can use in their home countries to support organic agriculture. Meeting participants included government officials from ICOA member countries who are responsible for control and promotion of organic agriculture.

The central mission of ICOA, an inter-governmental organization, is to develop the organic sector in the Americas and facilitate trade. ICOA’s 19 member countries include the United States and many of the U.S.' top Latin American trading partners. ICOA membership is an important way for the U.S. to help build strong, well-aligned regulatory systems in Latin America that ensure the integrity of organic imports and reduce trade barriers for U.S. products.

The meeting agenda included working sessions and technical presentations covering a range of topics, from organic materials review and standards development, to strategies to support growth in the sector, and enforcement. Speakers from OTA, the Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI), and Oregon Tilth Certified Organic (OTCO) also gave presentations. Director of the Oregon Department of Agriculture, Alexis Taylor, addressed the meeting, highlighting the importance of organic agriculture in Oregon’s diverse farming community and rural economy.

Miles McEvoy, Deputy Administrator for the AMS National Organic Program noted that continued engagement with ICOA is central to building knowledge, technical capacity and relationships that support NOP’s work on oversight and facilitating trade. Additionally, hosting this year’s ICOA meeting provided AMS and the U.S. organic community an important opportunity to share their experience developing a global organic control system and supporting a growing industry.