Phase II of the new wood packaging material (WPM) regulations, implemented on February 1, 2006, is now in full swing. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service put the new regulations in place in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Customs and Border Protection in an effort to reduce pest infestations carried by WPM. Many other countries have also adopted these international standards.
Phase II of the regulation requires that all commodity imports entering the United States with WPM consisting of pallets and crates be either heat treated or fumigated with methyl bromide. Once treated, these items must be marked with the approved logo indicating their certified compliance. Any items not meeting these regulations will not be allowed into the United States and will be returned to the country of origin.
During Phase II, which lasts through July 5, 2006, items not meeting the new standards may still be allowed into the U.S. if it is determined that the offending WPM can be successfully separated from the imported goods, at the expense of the importer. After July 5, all imported goods will be required to be certified pest-free and separation will no longer be an option.
Since working with the U.S. government can be time consuming, some companies are using customs brokers, like Quicklogistics (Brownsville, Texas), to help them comply with the new regulations. Brokers work with the Food and Drug Administration, Environmental Protection Agency, Fish and Wildlife Service, Federal Communications Commission, Department of Agriculture, and other government agencies to keep up to date on the last wooden packaging codes and regulations. Brokers also are assisting companies with import or export paperwork, transportation, shipping routes, and duty fees.