What is Being Done
& What Hinders these
An Interim Rule was implemented by the
USDA in 1998 to reduce the risk of accidental introductions of damaging
plant pests, such as the Asian longhorned beetle (ALB), in shipments
from China containing solid wood packing materials.
It requires that all solid wood packing
material (pallets, crates, dunnage, etc.) FROM
ONLY be treated prior to shipping to the U.S. to kill all stages
of the ALB. A certificate issued by the Chinese government stating that
the wood has been treated must accompany all shipments containing solid
Shipments not containing wood packing
material must be certified free of wood.
The Interim Rule went into effect on
December 17, 1998 and will remain in effect until permanent actions are
taken to reduce the risk of pests from solid wood packing material.
Compliance by the Chinese to the
Interim Rule is estimated at over 98%. The Canadian government has
implemented shipping regulations similar to the Interim Rule.
USDA is currently developing guidelines
for shipments containing wood packing that will apply worldwide.
USDA inspectors can and do deny entry
of shipments in which the wood packing material has not been treated or
one that lacks a proper certificate.
Inspectors can demand that
shipments with untreated wood packing be held in a pest-secure
warehouse until the contents are unloaded and inspected, and the wood
shipped back to China or burned.
The Interim Rule only addresses the
threat from China of ALB and other species that bore into solid wood.
It does not protect the U.S. from alien insects and diseases from other
countries coming on other substances or on live wood.
Over 50% of all shipments from
China come via Long Beach, CA. About 100 20-40 ft long containers
having solid wood packing material arrive there daily. There is no way
all of these containers can be checked, even with more inspectors.
USDA sends inspectors inland to
check suspect shipments when they reach their destination because there
isn’t enough space or personnel to do it at the ports.