Background: Until recently, APHIS' Q37 regulations categorized imported plants as either prohibited (not allowed) or restricted (allowed under certain conditions) and did not require a pest risk analysis prior to the importation of a new taxonomic group of plants. This differs from APHIS' fruits and vegetables regulations where the importation of fruits and vegetables is prohibited until the completion of such an analysis.
Plants for planting can carry a wide variety of pests that are more likely to become established in the United States than pests that could enter through imported fruits or vegetables. The plant itself also could be a pest. It is important for APHIS to enhance its regulations to ensure that they provide adequate protection against the risk posed by plants that are being imported.
The new category for imported plants for planting lists taxa of plants whose importation is not authorized pending pest risk analysis ( NAPPRA). If scientific evidence indicates that the taxon of plants for planting is a quarantine pest or a host of a quarantine pest, we will publish a notice in the Federal Register announcing our determination that the taxon is a quarantine pest or a host of a quarantine pest, cite the scientific evidence we considered in making this determination, and give the opportunity to comment on our determination. If we receive no comments that change our determination, the taxon will subsequently be added to the new category. This new category allows us to take prompt action on evidence that the importation of a taxon of plants for planting may pose a risk while continuing to allow for public participation in the process.
If petitioned, we will conduct a pest risk analysis for a taxon that has been added to the new category. After the pest risk analysis is completed, we will either remove the taxon from the category and allow its importation subject to general requirements, allow its importation subject to specific restrictions or prohibit its importation.
We will consider applications for permits to import small quantities of germplasm from taxa whose importation is not authorized pending pest risk analysis, for experimental or scientific purposes under controlled conditions.