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APHIS


In a recent issue of Greenhouse Business, I happened across an editorial on
the back page titled "An important update on APHIS's Quarantine 37."

While the writer didn't specifically state his opinion - he seemd more
intent on making readers aware of changes to come - he did seem to lean
toward more stringent controls, while at other times suggested speaking out
against.  I really couldn't pin down what he thought.  Here is a portion:

"It is in our best interest that USDA succeeds in this endeavor.  APHIS
should be viewed not as the enemy in this process, but rather as the
gatekeeper responsible for establishing the rules of engagement for those
wishing to trade.  How a member of the industry sees the stage on this issue
depends on where they are sitting in the arena.  Those who are not actively
trading internationally are apt to favor much stricter safeguars and are
likely to harbor suspicion that the APHIS effort is tilted toward relaxation
of the current quarantine.  On the other hand, those actively engaged in
international trade may fear disruption of a system to which they have
adapted.
"The primary driver for this initiative is the sense that the pest
safeguarding system isinadequately effective insofar as plants for planting
is concerned.  Recent emergency response programs for pests have cost
millions of dollars.  In a time of tightening federal budgets, USDA is under
pressure to increase the effectiveness of its safeguarding efforts.  While
leaders of APHIS appear very comitted to seeking industry input, pressure to
strengthen quarantine measures is coming from other federal agencies, the
environmental community, and most important, Congress.  Therefore we need to
have a strong voice."

Kitty

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