The Timber Packaging & Pallet Confederation (TIMCON) says it is continuing to monitor international developments on potential regulation of wood packaging material (WPM) movements, following the announcement that ISPM 15 will not, for the moment, be introduced uniformly for domestic WPM movements in the US market.
Following a risk assessment that demonstrated no clear link between wooden packaging and pest transfer, the US Animal & Plant Health Inspection Services (APHIS) said it has no plans for a countrywide ISPM 15 programme.
In a letter to industry stakeholders, it wrote: “Because the pest risks cannot be demonstrated with certainty, any regulatory scheme to mitigate the pathway would be complex and limited in its effectiveness. Also the costs and other burdens and impacts of regulations would be significant. For these reasons, we will not pursue the development of regulations at this time.”
It added: “We will however continue to work to more fully understand the risks posed by WPM. We will work closely with the WPM industry and our public and private sector partners to identify strategies and tools that can effectively prevent pests from being moved on this pathway.”
Since 2005, all WPM entering the US market is required to conform to ISPM 15 standards.
The National Wooden Packaging & Container Association (NWPCA), which represents the interests of the industry in the US, reacted saying the APHIS was causing confusion by continuing to regulate trees and wood products at the local and state level.
It said: The confusion appears to have arisen from statements in the recently released APHIS Risk Assessment document that said there is no “direct evidence” that wood packaging is a method for transporting non-native invasive specific and the agency therefore cannot issue a national domestic standard. This is not stopping them from using their authority to regulate the spread of non-native invasive species through reactive measures that restrict wood products – even without evidence.” It continued that it would be addressing the issue with policymakers at its next Federal Legislative Conference in September.
ISPM 15 developments in USA are closely monitored by the European Commission which is considering the extension of ISPM 15 for intra-Community trade. TIMCON is represented on the FEFPEB Task Force which is consulting with the European Commission on this critical matter.
TIMCON president John Dye said: “The decisions on the introduction or otherwise of ISPM 15 regulations have huge implications for companies operating in our industry. They must be carefully considered and based on sound scientific evidence. We will continue to monitor this situation and communicate developments on behalf of our members.”
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