U.S. and Canada to Implement IPPC ISPM 15 Requirements on Shipments Between Countries

Since the adoption of the International Standard for Wood Packaging (ISPM 15) by the U.S. and Canada, all wood packaging materials (WPM), such as pallets, skids, boxes, crates, etc., have been exempt from the requirement of the IPPC stamp when shipping items between the two countries. For the past several years, both countries have been assessing the risks involved with this unique exemption and have mutually concluded that the severity of threats to each others forestland is too great to continue.

The U.S. research indicates that “many North American forest pests, indigenous and nonindigenous, occur in both Canada and the United States. Some of these are unique forest pests and pathogens that are established in Canada and have the potential to be introduced or re-introduced into the U.S. via the movement of WPM, while others are pests that also occur in the U.S. but are subject to official control in order to prevent their spread. ” Pests of concern include the Brown Spruce Longhorned Beetle, European Oak Borer, Emerald Ash Borer, Asian Longhorned Beetle, European Woodwasp, and one particular fungus (Ophiostoma tetropii) and a Pine wilt disease (Leptographium truncatum).

Elimination of the exemption is seen as: (1) an improved protection from the movement of pests present in one country and not the other, (2) improved regulatory control of non-compliant wood packaging material which originated in a third country, and (3) an improved ongoing usage of wood packaging material regardless of origin.

The official USDA request to remove the exemption status was published in the December 2, 2010 issue of the Federal Register. You may provide comments regarding this proposed ruling and/or view all comments received to date, all at this Regulations website. Comments are being accepted on or before January 31, 2011. The official Canadian announcement may be viewed on the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) news portal. Full implementation is expected to be in place by the summer of 2012.

In a harmonized effort once both countries adopt the requirement for full requirements of ISPM 15, a period of “informed compliance” will be announced, during which WPM found non-compliant will be allowed to proceed to it’s destination provided no pests are present accompanied by a notification that the WPM will need to comply with ISPM 15 by the full implementation date. The penalty for non-compliant wood packaging items shipped after the full implementation date will be similar as currently enforced by other countries that have adopted the regulation: refused entry or costly border treatment requirements before entry.

NELMA will provide additional information as received and confirmed to keep you up-to-date on this significant change to the ISPM 15 requirement between the U.S. and Canada.