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Restructuring of Regulations on Imports of Plants for Planting Gets More Time for Comments

Friday, July 12, 2013
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

The Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has reopened through Sept. 10 the period for public comments on a proposal to restructure its regulations governing the importation of plants for planting. In addition, APHIS will hold a conference call and Web presentation Aug. 14 to provide an overview of this proposed rule.

APHIS has said that this proposal would not make any major changes to the restrictions that currently apply to such imports but instead would make those restrictions easier for readers to find and less cumbersome for APHIS to change. Highlights of this proposed rule include the following.

- Restrictions on the importation of specific types of plants for planting would no longer be found in the regulations but instead would be found in the Plants for Planting Manual.

- APHIS would change such restrictions after taking public comment through notices published in the Federal Register, rather than after publishing proposed and final rules as is the current practice.

- Restrictions that apply to the importation of most or all plants for planting would be grouped together.

- The rule would establish a framework for the use of integrated pest management measures in the production of specific types of plants for planting for importation into the U.S. when the pest risk associated with such imports can only be addressed through the use of integrated measures.

- The foreign quarantine regulations would be amended to remove various provisions regarding the importation of specific types of plants for planting that are not currently subject to the general plants for planting regulations; these provisions would instead be found in the Plants for Planting Manual.

- Several lists of approved items (e.g., the lists of approved growing media, packing materials and ports of entry) would be removed from the regulations and instead be provided in the Plants for Planting Manual.

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