U.S. and Canadian Regulatory Senior Officials met to discuss opportunities to smooth and speed imports and exports between the two countries and enhance economic competitiveness while at the same time heightening safety standards. The RCC is made up of government officials and industry stakeholders focused on trying “to promote economic growth, job creation, and benefits to consumers and businesses through increased regulatory transparency and coordination” between the two North American giants.1 Both countries maintain a very effective regulatory system that achieves similar levels of protection. In addition, regulatory officials on both sides of the border have generally compatible regulatory values and practices.
Speeding Commerce, Safely
Of particular interest is: food safety (including plant and animal health), transportation, and pharmaceutical/personal care products. The Council is dedicated to speeding commerce while increasing safety procedures.
The RCC has already provided tangible and positive results that benefit international commerce. Consider, there is now a single window application for stakeholders, pilot projects are underway to streamline shipment inspections, joint product reviews are being conducted and simultaneously approved, common standards are being adopted, joint guidance is being issued and where possible regulations are being aligned.
The success of the RCC will benefit businesses on both sides of the border in an extraordinary fashion. All U.S. and Canadian businesses and organizations that import or export products have a huge stake in the success of this initiative.
As an example, countries around the world including the U.S. and Canada are trying to prevent the introduction and spread of wood-borne insects and diseases. Such wood-borne insects and diseases can easily hitch a ride on a wooden pallet.
Most countries throughout the world are adhering to an International Standard for Phytosanitary Measure No. 15 (ISPM 15). Simply put, this standard directs that wood materials of a thickness greater than 6mm will be heat-treated when used to ship products internationally. If a company is shipping internationally and using wooded pallets it is critical that you use heat-treated pallets (aka Wheat Stamp).
Using one wrong pallet can result in your entire shipment being quarantined and significantly delayed. In some cases, depending on the severity of the circumstance your shipment can be destroyed. Treated pallets display a symbol, Wheat Stamp and inspection officials at the border can easily see that the pallet was treated properly and pass them through, speeding the transportation and commercial process.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) have announced that the two countries will be phasing-in regulations adhering to the ISPM 15 standards for heat treatment and for markings. This phase-in of the ISPM standard will likely take a couple of years so that most industries can come into compliance with the international standard.
Tim Cansler, founder and senior strategist of Cansler Consulting, is a former USDA official who has dealt with multiple phytosanitary trade issues. Cansler attended the RCC meetings and participated in the discussions in how the two governments could better protect and increase cooperation between the neighboring countries.
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