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News from the CWPCA

The latest expectation for changes to wood packaging material that moves between CA and the United States, is that the bilateral exemption will not terminate until 2015.

As the industry voice for Canada’s WPM sector and the service provider for certification in the ISPM-15 standard, CWPCA has been heavily involved in discussions surrounding the exemption for the need to heat-treat WPM. When the international standard was implemented in 2006, the two countries agreed to a bilateral exemption, but with frequent intimations that this exemption will be terminated. The latest attempt was a USDA consultation in 2010, which was designed to terminate the exemption as soon as possible, but CWPCA called for an orderly transition and as much informed compliance as possible.

Based on CWPCA’s estimate of the compliance costs to both countries, USDA undertook a departmental review and the proposed rule is still before the US Office of Budget and Management. Senior USDA officials have confirmed with CWPCA that there would be 12 to 18 months of informed compliance, but the final rule was expected to be released after the Presidential election in November.

There has been no official status report on the proposed timing of the measure, and CWPCA sent a formal note to CFIA to emphasize that “no industrial sector likes economic uncertainty” and the lack of clarity on this exemption “is impacting the WPM sector in an increasingly negative manner.”

Business cannot make decisions on purchasing kilns, finding new suppliers, warning customers to prepare or identifying facilities that need to comply with new rules, and CWPCA noted that industry is “concerned with the complete dearth of transparency on timing and logistic requirements.”

CFIA responded that the final rule is not expected to be made public before 2013, which would mean that implementation likely could not start before 2015 since the US has agreed to provide at least 12 months of informed compliance and has promised to implement the measures at the start of a year if possible.

CWPCA did not ask that the exemption be terminated; it was clear that the WPM industry needs a firm deadline for implementation that will allow the industry to proceed with confidence to make business decisions in a timely manner. If such a date is not possible to announce, the association asked that both governments agree that the exemption would remain in place until at least 2018 before there is more discussion on the termination of the exemption, to allow WPM companies “to comply with the international phytosanitary regulations that we are required to meet.”


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