The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), a division of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), has stated that current wood packaging materials (WPM) requirements remain in place for shipments from Canada to the U.S. An announcement in June indicated that APHIS intended to remove the exemption for Canadian WPM from the International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures No. 15 (ISPM No. 15).
The change hails back to 2012 when APHIS announced their intention to publish a final rule lifting the current exemption from ISPM No. 15 requirements for unmarked WPM originating in and moving between Canada and the U.S. The revised regulation is still under review. APHIS has stated that a change will not be published or implemented in July 2014 as previously announced.
APHIS still plans a phase-in period once the final regulation passes. The phase-in period would likely include timelines for full implementation, an outreach program, and cooperation with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA). It is anticipated that CFIA will likely update the D98-08 Entry Requirements for Wood Packaging Material into Canada directive to remove the exemption as well.
Until the changes are implemented, a declaration or statement of origin for the unmarked WPM should be made on shipping documents to allow Customs to readily verify their origin. The statement or declaration is necessary to avoid delays. This is particularly important if the goods in the shipment are of a non-U.S./Canadian foreign origin and/or the shipment contains both marked and unmarked WPM.
CFIA provided the following examples of appropriate statements to include on shipping documents when exporting and importing commodities containing WPM between the US and Canada:
• “the unmarked wood packaging in the shipment is of Canadian origin”;
• “the unmarked wood packaging in the shipment is of Canadian and U.S. origin”;
• “the unmarked wood packaging in the shipment is of U.S. origin”
• If all of the WPM (in a shipment) is unmarked, shippers could more simply state, as applicable: “the wood packaging in the shipment is of Canadian origin”