The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has proposed to make several changes to “update and streamline” its rules for plant imports.
“The importation of plants from foreign countries has greatly increased in the past 20 years and some of the regulations have not been updated,” said Rebecca Bech, deputy administrator of APHIS' Plant Protection and Quarantine program, in a recent statement. “These proposed changes are necessary to relieve certain restrictions, update existing provisions, and to make the regulations easier to understand and implement.”
Some of these proposed changes include requiring permits for the import of certain coated or pelleted seeds, and providing for an alternate additional declaration on phytosanitary certificates that accompany plants from countries known to have potato cyst nematodes.
The proposed rules also change provisions specific to certain countries to ensure they reflect the latest information regarding quarantine pests detected in various places, APHIS explained. For example, they would add Turkey to the list of countries from which imports of certain plants is prohibited due to the presence of Chrysanthemum white rust; provide conditions for the importation of certain plants from Canada to address the presence of plum pox potyvirus in that country; and provide for the import of carnations from the Netherlands.
“These improvements will make the existing regulations current, provide a faster and simpler process for industry, and maintain the existing level of protections for U.S. agriculture,” the agency said.
The Federal Register notice for the proposed changes is available here
. APHIS will receive comments on this proposed rule through April 15.