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SOE: Importing & Exporting Clarification

April 1, 2024

SOE: Importing & Exporting Clarification

We would like to clarify the new requirements for Organic Importers and Exporters. The “import certificate” is the responsibility of the Exporter. The Exporter must contact their organic certifier and request an import certificate for each shipment prior to it being exported to the US.
Requirements for Direct Importers (§205.103(b)(2):
  1. Determine if you are directly importing products into the USA from one of these countries: Canada, European Union, Japan, Korea, Switzerland, Taiwan, India, Israel, New Zealand, Mexico and the United Kingdom (countries with trader agreements).
    1. If this is the case – you simply need to obtain a copy of the import certificate from the exporter and save it for your records.
    2. If this is NOT the case – you must obtain a copy of the import certificate from the exporter AND complete the NOP Import Notification Log with the details of the import.
      1. Submit this NOP Import Notification Log to PAO, and the supporting documents indicated in the excel, as soon as possible.
      2. Ensure to save the NOP Import Notification Log and supporting documents for your records.
Requirements for Exporters(exporting to the USA):
  1. Contact your certifier to request an import certificate prior to any shipment departure. If you are certified by PAO, email QAOrganics@pao-usa.comto set up an initial meeting to discuss the details of the import certificates you will be needing.
    1. If your operation is certified by PAO and located in Mexico, please contact: organictrade@pao-mx.com
FAQ’s
Q: I am just receiving the product in my facility, I am not the direct importer. What do I need to do on my end?
A: Ensure that your supplier who you received the product from is listed on your Master Supply Chain and Product List and you maintain records of those transactions.
Q: I import the product but I do not take ownership of it, nor do I buy/sell the product. All I do is provide the Importing service. What do I need to do?
A: As the direct importer, you must ensure you conduct the following:
  • You must receive a copy of the Import Certificate
  • Maintain the documentation related to those transactions.
  • The exporter should also be listed on your Master Supply Chain and Product List.
  • Ensure that you verify if any prohibited substances were applied in the exporting/importing process. If so, notify your certifier immediately. Refer to: 205.273(d)
  • Per step 1b in the instructions above, if you are importing product from a country without a trade agreement, you must also complete the NOP Import Notification Log.
Failure to not meet this requirement may result in Non-Compliances or further adverse actions.
If you have any questions regarding Strengthening Organic Enforcement, please do not hesitate to contact us at: QAOrganics@pao-usa.com or 805-623-5248.