Global trade has increased exponentially over the past 10 years because of trade agreements like the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the World Trade Organization (WTO). The craft industry is just one of the many industries that have benefited from increased worldwide trade. Craft industry buyers in the United States now order a huge variety of home and holiday decorations from around the world that are made with natural plant material. Crafts made with natural materials like corn, wheat, rice, straw, grasses, sticks with bark, or bamboo could be contaminated with insects, diseases or even prohibited plant parts (ie seeds).
With the global trade in these decorations increasing, buyers from the United States need to be aware of regulations governing these imported items. There is a risk that these agricultural products can transport harmful plant and animal pests and diseases into the United States.
To safeguard U.S. Agriculture against these pests and diseases, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) regulates the importation of agricultural products, including those plant materials used in decorative items.