Q. What is the Federally Recognized State Managed Phytosanitary Program?
A. USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Plant Protection and Quarantine (PPQ) is the primary federal agency that is responsible for preventing the introduction and spread of harmful plant pests. To accomplish this, PPQ has developed a number of regulations to exclude pests that are not present in the United States. These regulations are enforced at the nation's borders and ports of entry by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). Through inspections of international passenger baggage, commercial vessels, trucks, aircraft and railcars, CBP intercepts these pests and keeps them out of the United States. In addition, PPQ has established several plant pest programs to eradicate or control pests that have entered the country, but are not widely distributed. These programs justify action at ports of entry when one of these pests is detected in international commerce.
To more fully meet our obligations under U.S. trade policy and the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC), PPQ has established the Federally Recognized State Managed Phytosanitary (FRSMP) program. The program creates two processes. First, it provides a process for PPQ, in close collaboration with the states, to remove from the list of pests that require action at ports of entry those that are established and unlikely to harm the U.S. environment or the economy. Second, the FRSMP program establishes a process for PPQ to grant federal recognition to state-managed eradication, control, and exclusion programs for pests that are present in limited distribution in the United States. Federal recognition of state-managed programs not only justifies regulatory action at ports of entry when a pest covered by one of these programs is detected in a commodity arriving in a protected state, it also helps the United States avoid challenges by trading partners to our import requirements when there is not a federal program for that pest. This process is consistent with the international standards that govern global agricultural trade.
Q. Is the United States required to implement the FRSMP program?
A. In order to be consistent with U.S. trade policy, the United States must have an official control program that provides for the active application and enforcement of mandatory phytosanitary regulations and procedures to eradicate or contain pests of potential economic importance that are not yet present, or present but not widely distributed. Official control programs are recognized by trading partners that participate in the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) and justify action on a pest when detected at ports of entry. The FRSMP program helps the United States more fully meet its obligations under U.S. trade policy and the IPPC by establishing a formal process to grant federal recognition to state-managed official control programs. The program also provides a process for granting federal recognition to state-managed pest exclusion programs that seek to protect areas of the United States against the introduction of pests that are present in limited distribution elsewhere in the country. By establishing the FRSMP program, the United States is making transparent its port of entry requirements and bringing them into compliance with the internationally accepted standards that govern global agricultural trade. Not only will this help the United States avoid challenges by trading partners to our import requirements, it will also help ensure fair and reciprocal treatment of U.S. exports.
Q. Will USDA take action on a pest when the shipment is arriving in or destined to a state without a federally recognized state-managed phytosanitary program?
A. Pests that qualify for consideration under the FRSMP program are of limited distribution in the United States. If USDA and the States determine that the pest is easily managed by best practices and elect not to initiate a phytosanitary program or to seek federal recognition under the FRSMP program, no action will be taken if the pest is detected in interstate or foreign commerce. Action will only be taken when the shipment arrives in a state with a federally recognized state-managed phytosanitary program.