The Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service is accepting comments through July 1 on a proposed rule that would authorize the importation into the continental U.S. from China of orchids of the genus Phalaenopsis established in an approved growing medium. Such imports would be subject to a systems approach that includes specified growing, inspection and certification requirements.

APHIS states that the proposed change is expected to increase the number and quality of orchids imported from China by U.S. producers, who then finish the plants for the retail market. It could also result in the importation of market-ready orchids that would directly compete at wholesale and retail levels with U.S. finished potted orchids. However, APHIS notes, the latter scenario is considered unlikely given the technical challenges and additional marketing costs incurred when shipping finished plants in pots.

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