In their letter, then Senators said that even though the regulations allow U.S. suppliers to be certified organic by Korean standards, many U.S. businesses cannot comply with the new standards by Dec. 31.
In addition, the USDA and the U.S. Trade Representative have said that Korea is unwilling to negotiate an equivalency agreement until January, 2014, after the regulations take effect. This, the Senators said, will cause an unnecessary disruption of trade.
"Unless the Republic of Korea government acts quickly to allow the continued importation and sale of U.S. organic products as they are sold today, the stream of commerce will come to a stop before the year is over," the Senators warned.
According to Laura Batcha, Organic Trade Association executive vice president, "Korea is a critical market for U.S. exports of organic products, and it is vital for the health and growth of the U.S. organic industry to keep this open."
Senator Feinstein was joined by Senators Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., Patty Murray, D-Wash., Jon Tester, D-Mont., Max Baucus, D-Mont., Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., Al Franken, D-Minn., Bob Casey, D-Penn., Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., Michael Bennet, D-Colo., Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and Jeff Merkley, D-Ore.