The third and final phase of wood packaging material (WPM) regulations are now being enforced.If pallets, crates, boxes and pieces of wood used to support or brace cargo don't meet WPM requirements and aren't free of timber pests before moving through or entering the U.S. they will be subject to immediate re-export.
Together the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Plant Inspection Service (APHIS) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) are enforcing the regulations outlined in International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures: Guidelines for Regulating Wood Packaging Material in International Trade (ISPM 15). All WPM must be either heat treated or fumigated with methyl bromide and be marked with an approved international logo certifying appropriate treatment. The regulations are not sneaking up on the industry as the first phase became effective last September 16.
It is possible to import shipments containing WPM that violate the rule if the CBP port director determines it's possible to separate the cargo from the WPM. But to have noncompliant WPM exported from the U.S. arrangements must be made for the cargo before it can be released to the consignee. Any costs for reexportation are the responsibility of the importer or party of interest.
Questions about the regulations and other issues needing resolution may be addressed at the APHIS web site: www.aphis.usda.gov/ppq/mpm/import or by toll free phone at 866-738-8197. For international callers with no access to U.S. toll-free numbers, call 301-734-5346.