U.S. rule would impact Canadian wood packaging
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service on Thursday proposed regulations to remove an exemption that allows wood packaging materials from Canada to enter the United States without first meeting treatment and marking requirements that apply to these materials from all other countries.
The agency said the action is needed to prevent the introduction and spread of pests via wood packaging materials from Canada.
In 2004, USDA amended its treatment regulations for imported wood packaging materials, such as pallets, crates, boxes, and blocking and bracing, to correspond with standards established by the International Plant Protection Convention's International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures (ISPM) 15. This standard requires these materials be either heat treated or fumigated with methyl bromide and marked with the approved IPPC symbol.
USDA said the less restrictive requirements for Canadian wood packaging materials were initially based on the premise that U.S. forests share a common boundary with Canada and share, to a reasonable degree, the same forest pests.
In a recent 'Risk analysis for the movement of wood packaging material (WPM) from Canada into the United States,' USDA determined that many North American forest pests, both indigenous and non-indigenous, occur in both Canada and the United States. However, some of these are unique forest pests and pathogens to Canada and have the potential to be introduced or reintroduced into the United States via the movement of wood packaging materials. Others are pests that also occur in the United States but are subject to controls to prevent their further spread, USDA said.
Among the pests of concern for USDA in U.S.-Canadian cross-border trade are brown spruce longhorned beetle, European oak borer, emerald ash borer, Asian longhorned beetle, European woodwasp, the fungus Ophiostoma tetropii, and vascular wilt.
USDA said the rule should have little impact on U.S. imports from Canada. 'Because the cost of a pallet is a very small share of the bundle of goods transported on pallets, cost increases due to the treatment requirements are not expected to significantly affect domestic consumers and thus would not have a measurable impact on the flow of trade,' the department said.
USDA will accept comments on the proposed rulemaking through Jan. 31, 2011. For more details, access the Federal Register notice.