Importing seeds and bulbs

Lee Poulsen
Thu, 26 Feb 2009 17:35:33 PST
Laura & Dave wrote:
>   3) Sending a check with the order, made out to APHIS, for the cost of 
> one of the flat fee boxes that the post office offers, into which the 
> entire package could be placed.  This eliminates the variable of postage 
> cost, and the accounting inherent therein.
>   4) Your ideas??
While item #3 is probably the simplest under the currently available 
possibilities, it's overly expensive for most of the packets of seeds 
I've received where the total international postage has been less than 
the current price of the flat-fee priority mail boxes. Also, it would be 
nice (and legal) if there were an easy and inexpensive way to trade 
seeds with friends overseas where the (typically small number of) seeds 
are mailed in a regular letter-sized envelope, go through the inspection 
station first upon entry into the U.S., and then continue on their way 
to my home with a minimum of fuss or re-packaging or other additional 
effort on anyone's part.

Maybe I wasn't clear about my suggestion in a previous email. I think it 
would be ideal if all packages or envelopes of seeds (or other plant 
materials) could be prepared for international delivery to the U.S. by 
writing the final destination address (my home address) on the outside 
of the package or envelope and immediately adjacent to it always placing 
a green and yellow label--which has the address for the inspection 
station on it. The label is very distinctive and hard to ignore. And it 
is about the same size as a typical address label, so should be just as 
noticeable. Then the postal service workers at ports of entry for 
international mail, would all be trained to place any package or 
envelope with the green and yellow label into a separate pile or stack. 
Or machine readers at the port of entry could easily be programmed to 
recognize the label, read the bar code, and divert all such packages and 
envelopes to the inspection station zip code.

This is how it is currently done with the small green Customs 
Declaration label that is affixed to all packages (and letters over a 
certain weight) that are sent internationally. It seems that other 
countries aren't picky about where the green label goes on a package or 
envelope, but at every post office where I've mailed things overseas, 
the postal clerks I've ever dealt with go to great efforts trying to 
place that label right next to the destination address. We just need an 
analogous system for the green and yellow label.

Then, after the inspection station has opened and inspected the item, 
they merely have to re-seal it, envelope or package, and mail it out 
with all their other mail. Since the final destination address is on the 
item already, the UPU (Treaty of Berne) obligations ensure that the item 
will be delivered to its final destination without further postage required.

Anyway, that's my suggestion. Maybe Bill could suggest it to those who 
are discussing this issue.

--Lee Poulsen
Pasadena, California, USDA Zone 10a

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