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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 high impact international and regional plant health standards. As a full participant and leader in plant health standards setting, APHIS-PPQ ensures U.S. interests are well represented, provides subject matter experts to develop these standards, assists in the development of work plans and identification of strategic priorities, and promotes science-based approaches to harmonize phytosanitary measures.

PPQ and the IPPC (the Convention)

First coming into force in 1952, the IPPC is an international plant protection agreement that aims to prevent the introduction and spread of plant pests and promote appropriate measures for their control. There are currently 183 contracting parties to the IPPC, which form the IPPC community. Together, these contracting parties develop international plant health standards, harmonize phytosanitary activities, 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. As stated above, PPQ is the NPPO of the United States. U.S. and North American subject matter experts participate in the IPPC Standards CommitteeImplementation and Capacity Development Committee, expert working groups (EWG), and technical panels (TP). In addition, experts from PPQ’s Policy Management, Science and Technology, Field Operations, and Office of the PPQ Deputy Administrator review all draft standards during IPPC consultation. Experts in APHIS-PPQ also develop documents and positions, which have been sources of significant input to many adopted international standards.

For more information about PPQ’s role in the IPPC, contact Dr. 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 member countries are the United States, Canada, and Mexico. NAPPO members coordinate efforts to protect plant resources against the entry, establishment, and spread of regulated plant pests, while facilitating regional trade into and between member countries.

NAPPO members countries conduct business through the formation of temporary expert groups and attendance to the NAPPO annual meetings. The NAPPO Executive Committee adopts the yearly NAPPO work program and is responsible for developing NAPPO positions and policies. NAPPO EG include representatives from each member country who have technical expertise related to the regional standard or document being developed. New project proposals submitted by NAPPO stakeholders are circulated for review to government and industry officials in the United States, Canada, and Mexico. In the United States, draft regional standards and other documents are shared with industry, States, and various Government agencies for consideration and comment during NAPPO country consultation. Revisions are compiled and submitted to the EG and the NAPPO Advisory and Management Committee for review and improvement of the draft document.  The Executive Committee approves all NAPPO products by consensus. 

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

Harmonization Advisory Group for International Standards

To support its international harmonization objectives, APHIS-PPQ established the Harmonization Advisory Group (HAG) in 2012. The HAG is composed of PPQ’s International Phytosanitary Standards staff, and liaisons from PPQ’s core functional areas, including Policy Management, Field Operations, and Science and Technology, and a representative from the Phytosanitary Issues Management staff.

The active engagement of, and ongoing support from, the various PPQ units in the standards setting area are key for achieving PPQ’s harmonization goals, including the effective implementation of adopted standards here in the United States, and by industry and foreign trading partners. The HAG was established to enable this agency-wide ongoing participation in PPQ’s international and regional standards setting work.

The HAG functions as a cross functional group to enable a “whole-of-PPQ” approach to international and regional standards setting activities. The HAG serves as a mechanism by which IPS can: 1) leverage input and expertise from across PPQ for international and regional standards work; 2) coordinate the development of PPQ positions and strategies; 3) position experts on international and regional expert groups; 4) vet draft standards and other documents among appropriate staffs; and 5) communicate with PPQ and its stakeholders on harmonization and other emerging issues on an ongoing basis.

The HAG’s overall goal is to ensure the development and implementation of science-based standards in trade, support other priority initiatives and projects at the global and regional level, and ensure that the United States is recognized as a leader in key areas of IPPC and NAPPO work.

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

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