Exporting to the US

Ronald Redding ron_redding@hotmail.com
Mon, 26 Jan 2009 20:53:01 PST
Hi Everyone 
I have some experience on this subject and actually sent a very derogitory message to Bill about US customs officials after his first message this wasn't directed at him or anyone individual however I just wanted to tell somebody how I felt about the US system and how I have found it to work (it was also very funny). 
I am one that would love to see this debate continue as the US system, from my point of view can only get better, it is woefully inadequate full of holes and I have absolutley no confidence in it at all. Hopefully US customs get to the top of the learning curve because right now from my perspective and also from some very good AQIS officials trained chimpazees could do a better job. Here in Australia all postal items are inspected however plant material that is not carried through the proper chanels can still occur and from my experience anything not correctly labelled is destroyed with no exception.
I am delighted that somebody has actually come forward to represent a US government department as it is bringing it out into the public domain. Here is my story:
I have several times, with some of the rarest plants you could imagine, tried to send them to the US. A US horticultural professor's knowledge and import permits and documentation were used from the US side. I went to several offices of the Australian Quaratine and Inpection Service to ensure I met all requirements from them and the US government, my home and greenhouses were inspected and audited before I was allowed to export anything. All correct paperwork and procedures were followed and it was wonderful! What a glorious thing I had passed all the tests and all plants were inspected and passed I was now able to offer some Amercan collectors some of the best worsleyas and bulbs available anywhere - that was before I made a US inpector get off his/her backside and do some work.
I have had over 100 worsleyas destroyed and several other plants such as pamianthe and priophys destroyed because they had a Canadian Appletree blackspot that has only ever been found outside of Canada once (the Netherlands in case you were wondering). 
I have complained to AQIS and although very simpathytic to my cause, they have had many instances more recently and in particular in relation to the Wollimei Pine that for no aparent reason that they could see have been inpected in LA and destroyed often without even a reason or notification. My time my plants and most importantly my reputation has been damaged over and over again by US customs even when I have dotted every i and crossed every t. Over fifty times yes over fifty times I have labelled plants as plants in ordinary mail and with no paperwork had 100% delivery in very fast and efficient time even opened inpected and sent on! what no paperwork, opened, inspected and delivered well what do you know could have saved myself thousands without all that quarantine and inspection work and documentation. 
I am one who would be very happy to see the debate continue and to be able to have some confidence in the US importation process however right now it is probably one of the most unstable and unreliable systems I have ever had to deal with. I will always be happy to comply with the US requirements and I can not wait until somebody that inspects plants knows that they are living organisms that photosynthesis and can not possibly catch a disease from a country that they have not been in and that they also need to be from a particular family if a disease only afflicts that particular family.
If you comply with a country's requirements and jump through all their hoops you would at least expect them to carry out their end of the bargain.Kind Regards and Best Wishes Ron Redding Hervey Bay Australia
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