seed exchange and phytosanitary certificate

Mike Jefferies mjefferi at PCUG.ORG.AU
Sat Mar 15 08:39:01 CST 1997

Addressed to: Elaine Chittenden <chitt at GNDS.MSU.EDU>
              Multiple recipients of list TAXACOM <TAXACOM at CMSA.BERKELEY.EDU>

** Reply to note from Elaine Chittenden <chitt at GNDS.MSU.EDU>         Thu, 13 Mar 1997 09:48:49 +0500

As a person formerly in charge of Plant Quarantine operations in
Australia I might comment on what we tried to do in this area.

> What is your practise regarding obtaining phytosanitary certificates?
> Right now our practise is if a phytosan is requested by the institution
> ordering seed we will contact Michigan Department of Ag. to get an
> inspector to issue one, otherwise we do not check into this.
> We recently received a request from Canada for Pinus seed (from our
> Index Seminum) and they notified us of their need for a phytosan. cert.
> to get the Pinus through customs. We pay for this (approx. $17.00 this
> time) and plan to send the paid invoice to the recipient for
> reimbursement.

I agree it is the respponsibility of the person wishing to import to find
out what his/her country's requirements are for the seed (or whatever) to
be imported and then request the supplier to obtain the relevant
certification from the official plant protection service of the exporting
country. (Payment is a matter of agreement between buyer and seller!)

> A USDA person suggested I consider reviewing this whole topic with a
> local Michigan Dept. of Ag person to ascertain which countries might
> need a phytosan. for which species. It sounds as though a Pandora's Box
> issue could arise so I hope others can share their experiences with
> obtaining phytosanitary certificates. Whose responsibility is it to
> know whether or not a phytosan. is required? Is the above practise that
> Beal Garden uses appropriate? I think it is the responsibility of the
> requestor, any comments would be most appreciated.

We, as certifying authorities would check that the conditions requested
were those of the receiving country and then issue the certificate if
those conditions could be met!!!!  In some cases they couldn't and there
was nothing to stop someone exporting seed without a certificate and the
importing country then has to decide what to do (if they find out,
another problem).

If the conditions were different from our understanding of the importing
country requirements, we would check with that country first.  What the
USDA are saying, I think, is that people often ask for certificates when
the importing countyr doesn't want one as some buyers have the idea that
it provides better *quality* or freedom from diseases.  This is not the
case as the expoting country can only apply the requirements of the
importing country as understood; that is their obligation under the IPPC.

Having said that the complexities of real life make it easy for
quatantine authorities to be abused by both those who want goods more
easily and those who want more restrictions on imports.  Not to mention
those who find they will not get paid unless they get a certificate they
don't actually need!

I could go on but this is probably not the place



Mike Jefferies; Consulting in Entomology and Quarantine
Using OS/2Warp4 and VoiceType
+61 6 2864033; mjefferi at or CompuServe 100035,374

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