US seed import permits

William Aley
Sat, 23 Feb 2013 06:49:10 PST
> Hi all. As always it's interesting reading the comments about APHIS aka plant nazi's, plant killers, inept government lackeys. It's all good reading though. 
A bit of history. George W's administration created the requirement of security for level 2 access for the ePermits. Once in place it's tough to undo. We created the small lots of seed permit as the result of hobbyist and horticultural societies that found it difficult to obtain the Phytosanitary Certificate (PC) for the most part it works as intended although there are folks that misuse it and that creates havoc at APHIS HQ trying to fix the opportunities to misuse.  For all other propagative plant material a PC is required. Remember this is an international agreement. US is one of about 170 countries that are signatories to the IPPC. It's a mixed perception of this. Some countries regulate exports as tight as imports. Thus the need for documentation. 
On behalf of those that have had problems with importation. Remember another George W proactive process that is Homeland Security. PPQ lost 75% of the uniformed work force to DHS. They are the first line inspectors at the ports of entry. Keeping drugs, bombs and illegal plants from entering the country. Sometimes plants are not as 'sexy' as drugs and bombs and things get put on back burner in crisis mode. 
I'll pass your emails on to our staff. Really we read them and its helpful trying to figure out ways to being more proactive. Our goal is not to make your lives more of a hardship. Really. We don't sit around doing that. But I look at every comment from requests to be less regulatory to the opposite of be more restrictive. And you all tend to want more access less restrictions. After all why shouldn't you get plants that are not like the ones you have. Although groups like TNC feel that all plants should not be allowed unfettered access into the USA. It's a conundrum.

Feed back is good but when you look at how we do work think how you would do it as well. 
Do you all remember hosts virus x?  You as tax payers spent thousands of dollars preventing importation of infected hosts plants. The more the hosts society ask for restrictions. The more individual hosta growers worked to get around the restrictions because a shortage of hosts plants in the us made the 'foreign susceptible' cultivars more expensive and thus more desirable. Smuggling increased and people got more creative to work around the system. It's human nature in the USA. 
Well another long email 
Feel free to drop me a line and chat directly with me if you'd like. It is always interesting hearing how we are perceived and most of us are pretty approachable about trying to fix the system when it's not working. 
William Aley
Sr. Regulatory Specialist
Plants for Planting

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