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USA Full ISPM-15 Enforcement in Effect
The United States began full enforcement of ISPM-15 on July 5, 2006 for all wood packaging material (WPM) except for shipments from Canada. The U.S. government will implement the standard as it was developed by the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC).
Non-manufactured wood packaging materials used in pallets, crates, dunnage, boxes and bracing has to be either heat treated to 56 degrees Celsius for 30 minutes or fumigated with methyl bromide and labeled with the IPPC mark under an official government program.
All countries exporting products to the U.S. have to comply except Canada. The similarity between the United States and Canada in their forest ecosystems, pest structures and quarantine procedures has led to this exception.
Non-manufactured wood packaging originating in either country will not have to be marked or treated in accordance with the IPPC standard to flow freely across the border. Shipments destined for other countries should be marked or treated.
Non-compliant packaging is being stopped at the border and re-exported. Shipments containing WPM that violate the rule may be allowed entry only if the port director determines that it is feasible to separate the cargo from the noncompliant WPM. An arrangement to have the noncompliant WPM exported from the United States is required before the cargo can be released to the consignee. All costs associated with the re-exportation are the responsibility of the importer or party of interest.
To read more on the U.S. regulations and policies, visit http://www.cbp.gov/xp/cgov/import/commercial_enforcement/wpm/
EU Delays Bark Free Requirement
The European Union (EU) implemented ISPM-15 "as is" on March 1, 2005, making it the first major economic trading bloc to enact the standard. Concerned about the possibility of infestation posed by treated wood packaging material with bark on it, the EU proposed requiring that all solid wood packaging material sent to the EU be made from debarked wood. But the EU has agreed for now to implement ISPM-15 "as is" without a debarking requirement.
The possibility of adding a debarking requirement prompted international debate between the EU and its major trading partners such as the United States. These major trading partners claimed the debarking requirement was unnecessary, amounted to a trade barrier and jeopardized the harmony that the new international standard was designed to create.
In response, the EU has agreed to delay the debarking requirement until 2009. This will give the EU time to develop additional scientific justification for the requirement while avoiding a major trade dispute in the process.
Scientists are actively investigating the issue to see if bark really poses real world concerns for properly treated WPM. As countries have talked about the issue, EU has moved from simply wanting debarked wood to bark free WPM.
Bruce Scholnick, president of the National Wooden Pallet & Container Association (NWPCA), stated, "The underlying purpose therefore, of a bark-free requirement, is to raise the quality of wood pallets coming into Europe in the interest of positive image branding, not phytosanitary protection." He added, "The issue is one of balancing technical evidence against economic evidence."
While the EU appears to have backed down for now, it continues to maintain the posture that it wants to see a bark free requirement applied in the future.
For more information on the phytosanitary issue, visit the Pallet Enterprise Web site at www.palletenterprise.com/pests.
Last Updated: October 4, 2006