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Plant Import Permit Regulations Amended to Ease Use, Improve Accountability

Thursday, April 10, 2014
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

The Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has issued a final rule that, effective May 12, will make a number of changes to its regulations on plant import permits. APHIS states that these changes aim 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.

This final rule (a) consolidates 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) makes 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) adds new provisions for the denial of a permit and the revocation of a permit once issued. Entities that may be affected by this rule are importers of restricted plants and plant products including flowers, nursery stock, fruits and vegetables, cotton, sugarcane, logs, packing materials, other manufactured wood articles and coffee, as well as importers of plants designated as noxious weeds, honeybees and honeybee semen, and regulated articles allowed entry on a temporary basis, such as for transshipment.

APHIS states that it is making several changes from its June 2013 proposed rule.

- allowing permit applications to indicate specific multiple intended ports of first arrival

- eliminating a paragraph requiring permittees to acknowledge permit conditions in writing

- clarifying that the reason to deny a permit is the potential for the introduction or dissemination or a plant pest, biological control organism or noxious weed, not the introduction or dissemination itself

- allowing APHIS to deny a permit if the importation is adverse to the conduct of any eradication, suppression, control or phytosanitary programs of APHIS or recognized by APHIS

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