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Changes Proposed to Plant Import Permit Regulations

Monday, June 24, 2013
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

The Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service is proposing a number of changes to its regulations on plant import permits. APHIS states that this rule aims to make permit procedures more transparent and easier to use, allow permit applications to be evaluated more quickly and thoroughly, and hold permittees accountable for complying with permit conditions. Comments on this proposal are due no later than Aug. 20.

Currently, APHIS explains, regulations on different regulated products are not always consistent in their requirements for obtaining a permit, the basis upon which a permit may be denied or revoked, or how such a denial or revocation may be appealed. These inconsistencies have resulted in confusion concerning permit procedures and difficulties for APHIS in providing the appropriate guidance and enforcement.

The proposed rule would therefore (a) consolidate the regulations concerning the issuance of permits for the importation and interstate movement of a wide variety of regulated plants, plant products and other articles; (b) make corresponding changes to the regulations concerning permits for the importation and interstate movement of noxious weeds and the importation of honeybees and other beekeeping articles; and (c) add new provisions for the denial of a permit and the revocation of a permit once issued. For example, this rule would set out the specific information a permit application must contain, how APHIS would handle shipments that arrive at a port before the permittee has received the permit, and how APHIS would provide for oral authorizations at the port of entry.

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