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RE: Possible relaxation in U.S. phyto. policy for seeds

This is hopeful news.  Could you keep us posted of any further news on this?

> [Original Message]
> From: James R. Fisher <garrideb@well.com>
> To: <gardenchat@hort.net>
> Date: 3/17/2003 7:21:17 PM
> Subject: [CHAT] Possible relaxation in U.S. phyto. policy for seeds
>     There has been chat on various lists about the possible
> relaxation of current USDA/APHIS policy on seed importation
> requiring phyto sanitary certificate at point of origin.
> Here is one such info message emanating from Joyce Fingerhut
> of the NATGS:
> Yes, changes are afoot.
> Dr. Arnold Tschanz, of the office of Regulatory Coordination had been
> the task of dealing with our complaints regarding the phyto requirement on
> imported seed.  We have been in contact about this issue since November of
> 2001.  Last word was that the regulation will be changed to allow seed to
> enter the US under a permitting system, without requiring a phytosanitary
> certificate from the country of origin.  It is possible that limits will
> placed on the amount of seed (by weight or by number) that can be imported
> (per order, perhaps?) in this way.
> I do not have the details about how the permitting system will work but,
> roughly, the importer (including us plant geeks) will apply for a permit
> from the USDA (can be done online) before sending the order (or seedex
> request) outside the country (overseas or Canada).  We (importers) will
> receive a permit and a green label, which both must be sent to the
> seed house or seedex (say, f'rinstance, Halda or AGS).  The exporter will
> include the permit with the return order and affix the green label to the
> outside of the envelope.  Based on these green labels, the contents will
> randomly (and probably only occasionally, is my feeling) inspected.
> This permitting system, however it finally works, will place the burden on
> the US buyer rather than the exporter and  remove any extra costs to
> the buyer or seller (permits are free).
> The new regulation is currently in the hands of the regulation-writer. 
> it goes up in the Federal Register, as an Advance Notice of Public
> Rule-Making (ANPR), we will be notified so that we can send comments
> a two-month period.  These comments will then be incorporated into a
> (if necessary) regulation, which will again be open for two months of
> comment.  Any further changes will be made and the final regulation will
> made public and enforced.
> So, we will have two shots at molding the new reg to our seed needs, all
> while keeping in mind that the APHIS regulations are in place for the
> protection of the country's very vulnerable agriculture and nursery
> industries.  Think of sudden oak death and the Asian longhorn beetle.
> I hope we will all stay in touch, so that the word can go out as soon as
> new reg is up for comment.
> Joyce
> -- 
> ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
> -jrf
> -- 
> Jim Fisher
> Vienna, Virginia USA
> 38.9 N 77.2 W
> USDA Zone 7
> Max. 105 F [40 C], Min. 5 F [-15 C]
> ---------------------------------------------------------------------
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