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U.S. And Canadian Wood Packaging Materials | Informed Compliance Enforcement

In 2005, Canada and the United States implemented, but did not enforce, wood packaging materials movement requirements. Since that time, all U.S. and Canadian manufactured wood packaging materials, such as pallets, crates, dunnage etc., have been able to move freely through the shared border of both countries without having to prove pest control treatment methods used on the wood packaging materials.

Recently, both the United States and Canada have concluded pest-risk studies associated with the movement of wood packaging materials with the decision that several pest and logistical issues can be negated by requiring all wood packaging material moving between the two countries meet International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures No. 15 (ISPM 15) (2009) regulations.

ISPM 15 is the International Phytosanitary Measure developed by the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC). It directly addresses the need to treat wood materials of a thickness greater than 6mm used to transport products between countries. Its main purpose is to prevent the international transport and spread of disease and insects that could negatively affect plants or ecosystems. ISPM 15 affects all wood packaging material (pallets, crates, dunnages, etc.) and requires that they be debarked, then heat treated or fumigated with methyl bromide, and then stamped or branded with a mark of compliance. Products exempt from the ISPM 15 are made from alternative material, such as paper, plastic or wood panel products (i.e. OSB, hardboard, and plywood).

Wood Packaging Materials | 5 Tips To Avoid Shipment Refusal

Both countries understand the potential financial and logistical impacts of these new regulations on Importers, Exporters and Producers of wood packaging materials, and to that end are working on creating and clarifying their directives (Canadian Food Inspections Agency) and rules (United States government) regarding the movement of wood packaging materials. Both countries are currently in discussion regarding the issuance of a fair harmonized approach to enforcement starting with a period of "informed compliance" starting in Spring 2011 moving towards full compliance in the Summer of 2012.

During the period of "informed compliance", wood packaging materials found or suspected to be in non-compliance with the new wood packaging regulations would be allowed to move to the destination and the carrier will be notified of the ISPM 15 requirement. However, if pests are found then the Importer may be required to treat the non-complaint materials to prevent the spread of the pests, and/or the shipment may be refused entry. Once full enforcement comes into affect, all non-compliant wood packaging materials will be refused entry by the destination country and, should pests be detected, may require the shipment be treated, at the cost of the importer, prior to returning the shipment to the exporting country.

Suggestions From Your Broker Knows:

If you are a Producer of wood packaging materials: Research your options on how to become registered as an ISPM 15 (2009) compliant producer, if you are not already.

If you are an Importer or Exporter: Communicate with any party that is involved in the transportation of your imports to ensure that they are aware of the upcoming changes and are working on the transition to acceptable wood packaging materials.

If you are a transportation company: Keep abreast of the up coming changes so that you can communicate them to your clients in order to not have your trucks delayed, and ensure that you only agree to transport ISPM 15 compliant wood packaging materials.

You Asked | Wood Packaging Materials
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About Author
Gloria Terhaar
CCS, CTCS, CBSA Professional Designate

Gloria Terhaar has over 17 years of Canadian customs brokerage experience. She currently works in our Canadian division as a Trade Compliance Supervisor and Regulatory Compliance Specialist. Gloria has extensive experience in all aspects of documentation and regulatory requirements as they relate to importing products into Canada. Gloria is often called upon to train industry with some recent talks for MNP, the Surrey Board of Trade, TFO Canada and the BC Produce Marketing Association. In 2018, Gloria also participated in the Canadian Produce Marketing Association and the Canadian Horticultural Council advocacy event "Fall Harvest" in Ottawa where she participated in advocacy efforts for the Canadain produce industry.

While we strive for accuracy in all our communications, as the Importer of Record it is incumbent upon your company to ensure that you are aware of the requirements under the new regulations so that you maintain compliance as always.