Wooden packaging

U.S. Issues WPM Import Restrictions

U.S. authorities have issued tougher regulations on the use of wood packaging material for imported cargoes and introduced new penalties from Nov. 1.

The legislation will mean that breakbulk operators would face stiff penalties for the use of non-exempt WPM used to package or secure cargoes. Compliance will be enforced by U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

“The WPM must display a visible, legible, and permanent mark certifying treatment, preferably in at least two sides of the article,” the CBP said in a statement.

The new wood packaging material penalty is issued under the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations 7 CFR § 319.40-3 and is designed to prevent the introduction of exotic timber pests and penalties. It may be applied to any cargo that has not been suitably identified, regardless of origin.

ISPM 15 compliant

All WPM from foreign origin must now carry appropriate International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) marking in line with International Standards of Phytosanitary Measures (ISPM 15).

Non-exempt wood packaging material imported into the country is required to have been treated at approved facilities at places of origin to kill harmful timber pests that may be present.

“Eradication efforts can prove to be very expensive and ineffective once an exotic pest is introduced, as is the case with the Emerald Ash Borer, which was introduced with infested WPM.  Therefore, preventing introduction is critical with these exotic pests,” a CBP spokesperson said.

The new penalties will be active for imported cargoes as of Nov. 1 and the responsible party, whether importer, carrier, or bonded custodian, will face all costs or charges associated with disposition.

“To motivate WPM compliance … responsible parties with a documented WPM violation may be issued a penalty under Title 19 United States Code (USC) § 1595a(b) or under 19 USC § 1592,” the CBP states.

The new stricter penalty regime is a change from the previous published threshold of 5 violations.  Additionally, there will no longer be a yearly reset for calculating repeat violations as each WPM violation may incur a penalty.

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