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Role of PPQ

International Standards Setting: The Role of APHIS Plant Protection and Quarantine

As the national plant protection organization (NPPO) of the United States, the Plant Protection and Quarantine (PPQ) program actively participates in the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) and the North American Plant Protection Organization (NAPPO) communities to develop plant health standards. As a full participant and leader in international standards setting, PPQ ensures U.S. interests are represented, provides experts to develop standards, assists in the development of work plans and priorities, and promotes technically sound approaches to harmonize phytosanitary measures with international standards.

PPQ and the IPPC

Established in 1952, the IPPC is an international plant health agreement that aims to prevent the introduction and spread of plant pests and promote appropriate measures for their control. Currently, 183 countries participate in the IPPC community. Together, member countries develop international plant health standards, harmonize phytosanitary activities through emerging standards, exchange official and scientific information, and provide technical assistance to developing member countries.

The Convention is implemented by NPPOs working in cooperation with regional plant protection organizations (RPPOs), the Commission on Phytosanitary Measures (CPM, the governing body of the IPPC), and the IPPC Secretariat. PPQ is the NPPO of the United States.

U.S. experts participate in the Standards Committee, expert working groups, and technical panels, and review all draft standards. PPQ develops documents and position, which have been sources of significant input for many adopted standards.

For more information about PPQ’s role in the IPPC, contact Marina Zlotina, PPQ's IPPC Technical Director, at


Created in 1976, the North American Plant Protection Organization (NAPPO) is the RPPO for North America. Its members include the United States, Canada, and Mexico. NAPPO members coordinate efforts to protect plant resources against the entry, establishment, and spread of harmful plant pests, while facilitating regional trade into and between member countries.

NAPPO members conduct business through expert groups and annual meetings. The NAPPO Executive Committee manages the NAPPO work program and is responsible for developing NAPPO positions, policies, and standards. NAPPO expert groups include representatives from each member country who have scientific expertise related to the policy or standard being considered. Proposals by the individual panels are circulated for review to government and industry officials in the United States, Canada, and Mexico. In the United States, draft standards are shared with industry, States, and various Government agencies for consideration and comment. Revisions are compiled and sent to the NAPPO working group and the NAPPO Advisory and Management Committee for technical review and then to the Executive Committee for final approval, which is agreed by consensus.

For more information about NAPPO, contact Patricia Abad, PPQ's NAPPO Technical Director, at

Harmonization Advisory Group for International Standards

In 2012, PPQ formed the Harmonization Advisory Group (HAG) to coordinate, analyze, and carry out PPQ’s international and regional harmonization initiatives.

To advance U.S. harmonization objectives, the HAG provides the PPQ Deputy Administrator with reports, analyses, positions, strategies, and recommendations regarding IPPC and NAPPO standard-setting initiatives and activities. The HAG:

  • Influences and shapes international standards and their implementation to meet U.S. priorities by:
    • Analyzing and recommending strategies for harmonization, information exchange, technical assistance, and other IPPC or NAPPO issues
    • Developing U.S. positions on draft IPPC and NAPPO standards
    • Identifying U.S. experts to participate in working groups or other positions
  • Ensures broad participation by PPQ, states, industry, and others in the development and use of international and regional plant health standards by:
    • Coordinating U.S. review and comments on draft standards, specifications, and work programs
    • Collecting input on new priority standard-setting initiatives
    • Encouraging the implementation of adopted standards
  • Develops support for IPPC and NAPPO activities by:
    • Promoting the importance of international standards among U.S. stakeholders
    • Communicating PPQ’s harmonization goals, activities, and results

For more information about the Harmonization Advisory Group, contact Stephanie Dubon, Deputy Technical Director of International Phytosanitary Standards at

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