The International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures No. 15 (ISPM-15, as of now) regulates wooden packaging used for international trade for the transport of goods. Its purpose is to minimize the risk of introduction and dispersion of pests related with this type of material within the archipelago through a series of mandatory measures. Although it was scheduled to become effective at the beginning of April 2019, an extension of 6 months has been granted for its implementation. Here we would like to explain what it consists of and the causes of said extension.
What is ISPM-15?
ISPM-15 is a standard drafted by the IPPC (International Plant Protection Convention). It was approved, in its first version, in March 2002, although, it underwent modifications in 2006 and was then completely reformed in 2009.
Its objective is exhaustive phytosanitary control of wooden packaging used in the transport of goods. It must be remembered that determining the origin of wood, especially taking into account that it can be modified and restored in various parts of the world prior to reaching the final destination, is not easy. Additionally, as in the case of wood packaging material, it is especially prone to the accumulation of pests.
In particular, the application of ISPM-15 in the Canary Islands was approved by Order APA/1076/2018, of 11 October. It granted a period of six months to take effect before obliging compliance in all ports of the archipelago. Meaning, its scheduled implementation was 12 April, 2019 at the latest. However, Order APA/447/2019, of 12 April, granted an extension of 6 additional months, which may not be extended. Therefore, as of this coming October, it must be applied compulsorily.
Why was the effective date of ISPM-15 extended?
Primarily, this extension for application of ISPM-15 has been due to the lack of preparation of the companies in the sector. They themselves had warned and pressured that the mechanisms of action required to combat pests in wooden packaging and pallets had not been able to be perfected and implemented correctly, so there was a risk that sanctions would begin to be imposed in a generalized manner. It is expected that, with these additional 6 months, a greater number of operators will be prepared to adapt to the new standard.
What does ISPM-15 consist of?
ISPM-15 includes the application of a series of measures designed to control pests associated with wood pallets and packaging used in international trade. These are:
- Use of debarked wood for the manufacture of packaging and pallets.
- Application of, at minimum, phytosanitary treatment using heat or fumigation with methyl bromide for the control of pests.
- Obligatory international marking of wooden packaging and pallets that certifies the application of the sanitary treatments specified in the previous point.
These measures are applicable to all wooden packaging with a thickness greater than 6 mm. In case of non-compliance, companies shall be subject to the sanctions included in the Plant Health Law, dating from 2002.
What happens if a company is non-compliant with the specifications of ISPM-15?
The Plant Health Inspection Service, with prior authorization of the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, is responsible for examining the packaging and certifying that it complies with the aforementioned phytosanitary safety measures. If it is detected that the standards have not been applied, or not carried out properly, it may respond in several ways.
Said response may entail confiscation of the shipment, return to its place of origin, removal of the parts that do not meet the established requirements, or destruction of the wooden packaging. This may also apply to encased merchandise. Moreover, economic sanctions may also be applied.
In short, as of October 2019, all wood packing materials must comply with these regulations for import or entry into the Autonomous Community of the Canary Islands, in order to avoid penalties and possible loss of merchandise.
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