The EU is to accept organic imports from Norway and Iceland after rules governing the trade in the products were included in the European Economic Area agreement, which governs trade between the countries and the 28-member bloc.

The European Economic Agreement, or EEA, was set up in 1994 to define trade rules between the EU and three states – Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein.

Brussels said for the last eight years Norway and Iceland had been applying rules on organic production adopted by the EU in 1991. The rules were first introduced 26 years ago but the EU had subsequently updated the regulations, most recently in 2009, when it introduced stipulations on organic aquaculture production.

Phil Hogan, the EU’s Agriculture and Rural Development Commissioner, said: “I am happy to see that our EEA partners realised the importance of common standards, and the benefits they bring to producers and consumers on both sides. The rules guarantee a level playing field between EU and EEA organic producers, for their mutual benefit. The [European] Commission will never accept any watering down of our high standards for products being produced, imported and marketed as organic. It is our role to ensure consumer confidence and guarantee the credibility of the EU organic logo.”