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Tanya Espinosa (301) 851-4092
Lyndsay Cole (970) 494-7410

USDA Modifies Regulations on the Importation of Plants for Planting;
Two Final Rules and Two Proposals for Comment

WASHINGTON, April 22 2013--The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is advising the public of two final rules and two proposals (one notice and one proposed rule) for comment.  The changes will streamline and strengthen the regulations for the importation of plants and plant material. These initiatives have been in progress for several years. Strengthening the plants for planting import regulations was recommended by the National Plant Board and other stakeholders in recent years.  With these actions, APHIS will continue to modernize the plants for planting import regulations, increase transparency, and better control high-risk pest pathways. 

Notice of Addition of Taxa of Plants for Planting to the List of Taxa whose Importation is Not Authorized Pending a Pest Risk Analysis

APHIS is posting a final notice, adding 31 quarantine pests from all countries and 107 hosts of 13 quarantine pests from nearly all countries that would be added to the list of plants whose importation is not authorized pending a pest risk analysis (NAPPRA).  This rule will go into effect on May 20, 2013. This is the first addition to the NAPPRA category. 

In 2011, APHIS established a new category of plants for planting whose importation is not authorized pending pest risk analysis in order to prevent the introduction of quarantine pests into the United States.  The final rule established two lists of taxa:  a list of plants for planting that are quarantine pests and a list of plants for planting that are hosts of quarantine pests.  For taxa of plants for planting that have been determined to be quarantine pests, the list will include the names of the taxa.  For taxa of plants for planting that are hosts of quarantine pests, the list will include the names of the taxa, the foreign places from which the taxa's importation is not authorized, and the quarantine pests of concern.  NAPPRA allows APHIS to take prompt action on evidence that the importation of a taxon poses a risk while continuing to allow for public participation in the process.

This action is published in today’s Federal Register.

APHIS anticipates the following final rule and proposals to be published within the next few days.

Restructuring of Regulations on the Importation of Plants for Planting

APHIS has posted a proposed rule for the restructuring of regulations on the importation of plants for planting to the Federal Register for comment.  This proposal would move some of the restrictions on the importation of specific types of plants for planting currently in the regulations to the Plants for Planting Manual; group together restrictions that apply to the importation of most or all plants for planting; and add general requirements for the development of integrated pest risk management measures.  The manual is user-friendly and available on the APHIS website.  This proposal does not make any major changes to current restrictions that apply to importation of plants for planting, but would set up a system for making changes more efficiently and transparently in the future.

This action is published in the April 25th Federal Register. Comments are due on June 24th, 2013.

Controlled Import Permits

APHIS is publishing a final rule to establish the Controlled Import Permit (CIP) as the single type of authorization for the importation of plants and plant products that are prohibited within 7 CFR 319.  The CIP will replace the Departmental permit and will also be the authorization for importing plants that currently require a different APHIS permit plus a post entry quarantine permit.  The CIP will consolidate and harmonize the various conditions that APHIS imposes on holders of PPQ 588 permits to reduce the possibility of bringing a pest into the United States along with the plant material.

This action is published in the May 2 Federal Register. This final rule becomes effective June 3.

Notice of Availability of Data Sheets for Taxa of Plants for Planting that are Quarantine Pests or Hosts of Quarantine Pests to be added to NAPPRA

APHIS is publishing a notice presenting scientific evidence on 22 quarantine pests and 39 hosts of 8 quarantine pests from certain countries that we are considering adding to the list of plants whose importation is not authorized pending pest risk analysis (NAPPRA).  This is the second proposal to add taxa to the NAPPRA list.

APHIS encourages comments on the above proposed notice and rule when they are published in the Federal Register.  

Comments on the proposed notice and rule will be posted on the Regulations.gov website and may also be reviewed at USDA, Room 1141, South Building, 14th St. and Independence Ave., SW., Washington, DC, between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding holidays.  To facilitate entry into the comment reading room, please call (202) 690-2817.

The Obama Administration, with Agriculture Secretary Vilsack's leadership, has aggressively worked to expand export opportunities and reduce barriers to trade, helping to push agricultural exports to record levels. U.S. agriculture is currently experiencing its best period in history thanks to the productivity, resiliency, and resourcefulness of our producers and agribusinesses. Today, net farm income is at record levels while debt has been cut in half since the 1980s. Overall, American agriculture supports 1 in 12 jobs in the United States and provides American consumers with 83 percent of the food we consume, while maintaining affordability and choice. Strong agricultural exports contribute to a positive U.S. trade balance, create jobs, boost economic growth and support President Obama's National Export Initiative goal of doubling all U.S. exports by the end of 2014.

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