Background

China to be Added to Electronic Export System

The Department of Agriculture plans to add China to the Public Health Information System export component as of Jan. 27, 2020. The USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service is making a test environment available through Dec. 15 and then again from Jan. 6 onward.

The PHIS export component enables exporters to electronically submit, track, and manage applications for export certificates, including bundling multiple applications and supplemental documents into a single file. Foreign governments have the capability to view all export certificates issued by FSIS for product intended for their country. FSIS is able to digitally sign export certificates and to electronically inventory and track export certificate information, which enables it to review exact images of export certification documents prior to approval. In the future, FSIS intends to support electronic export certification, which will allow it to transfer certification data directly to the certification system of the foreign government’s competent authority.

The PHIS export component was first implemented in June 2018 with 16 locations that do not maintain export library requirements: Afghanistan, Andorra, Bahamas, Bolivia, Burundi, Cape Verde, Cook Islands, Ethiopia, French Guiana, Gambia, Guinea, Liberia, Mozambique, San Marino, Tanzania, and Uganda. It was expanded in May 2019 to Angola, Antarctica, Aruba, Bhutan, Botswana, Bouvett Island, Brunei Darussalam, Christmas Island, Comoros, Eritrea, Falkland Islands, Faroe Islands, French Southern and Antarctic Islands, Greenland, Guernsey, Heard Island and McDonald Islands, Isle of Man, Jersey, Lesotho, Liechtenstein, and Vietnam.

New Import Restrictions Proposed for Plants for Planting

The Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has determined that 26 taxa of plants for planting are quarantine pests and that all Myrtaceae taxa (when destined for Hawaii), all subfamily Bambusoideae taxa, and 43 other taxa of plants for planting are hosts of 18 quarantine pests. APHIS is therefore proposing to add these taxa to its lists of those whose importation is not authorized pending pest risk analysis. Comments are due by Jan. 24.

If this action is finalized, importers who wish to import any of these plants or plant materials would have to submit a request to APHIS, which would then develop a pest risk analysis evaluating the potential importation. Based on the results of that analysis APHIS would remove the taxon from the NAPPRA list and allow its importation subject to general requirements, allow importation subject to specific restrictions, or continue to prohibit importation.

APHIS is also proposing to (a) add Jasminum spp. plants for planting from South Africa and Catharanthus spp. plants for planting from Canada to the NAPPRA list and (b) remove corn seed imports from Guatemala and Pennisetum glaucum seed imports from Chile from the NAPPRA list.

International Sanitary and Phytosanitary Standard-Setting Activities

APHIS has issued a notice informing the public of the sanitary and phytosanitary standard-setting activities of the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), the International Plant Protection Convention, and the North American Plant Protection Organization. APHIS is requesting public comments on the standards under consideration.

The major functions of the OIE are to collect and disseminate information on the distribution and occurrence of animal diseases and to ensure that science-based standards govern international trade in animals and animal products. The OIE aims to achieve these through the development and revision of international standards for diagnostic tests, vaccines, and the safe international trade of animals and animal products. At the most recent OIE general session, 11 Terrestrial and Aquatic Animal Health Code chapters were amended, rewritten, or newly proposed and presented for adoption.

The IPPC aims to prevent the spread and introduction of pests of plants and plant products and to promote appropriate measures for their control through the following activities: developing, adopting, and implementing international standards for phytosanitary measures; harmonizing phytosanitary activities through adopted standards; facilitating the exchange of official and scientific information among countries; and providing technical assistance to developing countries that are contracting parties. Measures taken at the most recent meeting of the IPPC’s  Commission on Phytosanitary Measures included approving an electronic certification system implementation plan to support trade (ePhyto) and identifying next steps for its longer-term worldwide application.

NAPPO coordinates efforts among the U.S., Canada, and Mexico to protect their plant resources from the entry, establishment, and spread of harmful plant pests while facilitating intra- and inter-regional trade. The most recent NAPPO annual meeting included discussions on ePhyto, sea containers, e-commerce, and trade facilitation.

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