Dec. 1., 2017 - On October 31, 2017, the International Services office in Santiago, Chile was informed by an importer that SAG Plant Health Chilean officers at the port of San Antonio were holding 23 containers of lumber and 2 of dried beans due to a perceived doubt on authenticity of signatures on US phytosanitary certificates accompanying the shipments. Upon investigation, IS Santiago found that additional containers from other U.S. importers also were being detained. After discussing the issue with Chilean IS Santiago and IS Lima, learned that the signature images that APHIS uses are secured electronic copies of the Authorized Certification Official’s physical signature in which only the individual may apply to the phytosanitary certificate. Chile had been accepting these signature images for many years without problem. However, new staff at San Antonio port requested assurances that the signatures were official and authentic in order to release the shipments. On November 3, 2017 International Services sent a letter explaining the certification system and got concurrence from SAG Headquarter Office that they will continue to accept the signature images. This event will be discussed in the next Technical Plant Health Bilateral meeting scheduled for January, 2018. The released containers were valued at $420,000.