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Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service
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International Services Program Overview

International Role and Opportunities

APHIS works to protect the health and value of American agriculture and natural resources. APHIS International Services (IS) supports this mission in an international environment by: (1) safeguarding the health of animals, plants, and ecosystems in the United States; (2) facilitating safe agricultural trade; (3) ensuring effective and efficient management of internationally-based programs; and (4) investing in international capacity-building through various training programs abroad to enhance technical, administrative, and diplomatic skills and competencies. APHIS' international mission is to protect and promote U.S. agricultural health through internationally-based animal and plant health expertise.

Sterile Fly Release Programs

International Services (IS) facilitates international trade and fulfills APHIS’ mission to prevent the spread of pests harmful to U.S. agriculture such as the New World screwworm, Cochliomyia hominivorax, and species of the Mexican and Mediterranean fruit flies. International Services co-sponsors these cooperative foreign pest programs through sterile fly release facilities in other countries which reduces risks of reintroducing these pests into the U.S. through exposures due to travel or international trade.

Sanitary and Phytosanitary Issues Management

APHIS has been designated by the Secretary of Agriculture to take the lead in international standard setting organization activities which are involved in animal (sanitary) and plant health (phytosanitary) issues and IS helps to fulfill this role. An "International Standard'' is defined in 19 U.S.C. 2578b as any standard, guideline, or recommendation: 1.) developed under the auspices of the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE, formerly known as the Office International des Epizooties) regarding animal health and zoonoses; or 2.) developed under the auspices of the Secretariat of the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) in cooperation with the North American Plant Protection Organization (NAPPO) regarding plant health.

Other agencies that work with APHIS internationally on trade and health management issues include:


International Capacity Building

APHIS develops and implements international capacity building programs to assist in achieving its strategic goals. These programs are designed to identify and reduce agricultural pest and disease threats while still outside of U.S. borders in order to enhance safe agricultural trade and to strengthen emergency response preparedness. They also help foreign counterparts meet their World Trade Organization (WTO) obligations applying science to questions of animal and plant health that may affect trade. Capacity building includes training and technology transfer to assist foreign partners in building their animal and plant health infrastructures which, in return, helps to reduce the likelihood of undetected agricultural threat pathways into the United States.

APHIS's International Technical and Regulatory Capacity Building Center coordinates APHIS's efforts to improve the capacity of foreign government counterparts.  APHIS responds to requests for technical assistance and capacity building from foreign counterparts that help meet APHIS safeguarding and trade goals.  We also partner with other U.S. Government agencies to participate in programs that advance US foreign policy objectives, including trade, global health, and international security.  APHIS and its partners develop training and technology transfer programs that help build the animal and plant health infrastructure of foreign counterparts.

APHIS International Visitor's Center

APHIS Visitor's Program, a part of International Services, welcomes international guests to APHIS to learn more about our role in regulating plant and animal health issues, disease eradication, biotechnology, SPS global standards and the implementation of monitoring procedures to ensure the health and safety of the U.S. food supply. APHIS Visitor's Program is a source for international visitors wishing to learn more about APHIS's role and activities.


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