Wood Packaging Material (WPM) (also called non-manufactured wood packing or solid wood packing material) is any solid hardwood or softwood packaging used to support, protect, or carry a commodity. WPM includes, but is not limited to, pallets, skids, pallet collars, containers, cratings, crates, boxes, cases, bins, reels, drums, load boards, and dunnage.
It is well documented that WPM introduces harmful forest pests into our environment. Our international partners have reached a consensus that infested WPM brought the Asian longhorned beetle and the emerald ash borer to the United States. The consequences of these tree-killing forest pests have been severe and costly. Together, these pests have destroyed tens of millions of trees and have cost our country more than $1 billion to control
APHIS regulates imported wood packaging material according to the International Plant Protection Convention’s adopted International Standard 15 (ISPM 15), “Regulation of wood packaging material in international trade.” ISPM 15 has been proven to prevent the introduction of harmful pests into the United States. We use those same standards to facilitate exports of wood packaging material to ensure they meet the importing countries’ requirements and do not spread damaging invasive pests. In short, this is an international cooperative effort.
The following articles are of sufficiently low risk to be exempted from the provisions of this standard:
However, these materials, when combined with non-manufactured wood packing materials, must have the non-manufactured WPM treated and the product properly marked.
Ensure all wood packaging material entering or transiting the United States is pest-free, de-barked, heat-treated or fumigated, and marked with an ISPM 15 logo certifying that it has been appropriately treated. Shipments containing noncompliant wood packaging material will not be allowed to enter the United States.
Anytime a shipment is found to have live wood boring pests in the wood, the entire shipment is in violation of ISPM 15 and will be re-exported at the expense of the importer.
However, in rare cases, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) may approve manipulation for ISPM 15 stamp issues only if:
Manipulation means replacing non-compliant WPM with compliant or local wood packaging, so the shipment can remain in country. But the original, non-compliant WPM may require a safeguard fumigation and must be returned to the exporting country.
U.S. ports with a PPQ-approved incinerator may allow dunnage to be incinerated when authorized by local port officials.
Non-compliance can cost businesses in a number of ways:
Industry and importers can take many steps to promote ISPM 15 compliance. We encourage companies to adopt these best practices:
Importers may consider using alternatives to WPM. The following products are not subject to USDA regulation:
APHIS and the wood packaging material industry administer an export program to guarantee wood packaging material compliance with trading countries’ import requirements. The program ensures certified treatment and marking of wood packaging material for international trade, while maintaining the packaging material’s traceability.
There are three options for obtaining ISPM 15-compliant wood packing material in the United States:
Contact the ALSC to obtain sources of compliant wood packaging material or to become an ISPM 15-compliant wood packaging material manufacturer.
U.S. importers sourcing wood packing material in other countries should use packing materials from a registered and accredited manufacturer that have been heat treated or fumigated according to ISPM 15. Importers should contact the National Plant Protection Organization of the shipment’s country of origin for more information.
Since its implementation, U.S. interceptions of infested WPM have decreased by as much as 52 percent. In a 2009 study, USDA’s Forest Service found that 99.89 percent of ISPM 15 marked material was compliant. The IPPC, as well as regional and national plant protection organizations worldwide, are working to eliminate the 0.11 percent of noncompliant material, because infested material can impact the environment and trade so heavily.
USDA’s Plant Protection and Quarantine (PPQ) program is cracking down on U.S. companies that place counterfeit marks on exported WPM. Official marks certify that the wood was treated in accordance with ISPM 15 and is free of wood-boring tree pests. When companies apply fake marks to untreated wood, they imperil forests in the United States and worldwide. USDA has prosecuted 88 ISPM 15 fraud cases during the last 11 years and levied $329,000 in fines and $54,937 in restitution since 2015.