Agricultural Importers: What Are APHIS Requirements

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Agricultural Importers: What Are APHIS Requirements

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) released a statement seeking feedback on the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) online portal to simplify the flow of information on requirements for imported agricultural goods into the United States.

The USDA explains that, “APHIS plays a vital role in ensuring the free flow of agricultural trade by keeping U.S. agricultural industries free from pests and diseases and certifying that the millions of U.S. agricultural and food products shipped to markets abroad meet the importing countries’ entry requirements. APHIS makes sure that all imported agricultural products shipped to the United States from abroad meet the Agency’s entry requirements to exclude pests and diseases of agriculture.”

The Agricultural Commodity Import Requirements (ACIR)

Importers can use the online portal to identify the requirements that they must meet based on the type of goods they are importing. The agricultural imports are broken down into 7 key categories:

1. Plants for Planting and Propagation*

2. Plants and Plant Products Not for Propagation

3. Animal Products and Byproducts

4. Soil and Soil Amendments

5. Treatments (Phytosanitary treatments for quarantine-significant plant pests on imported and domestic commodities)

6. Procedure (Guidance for port operations, including phytosanitary treatments; some information may be accessible to internal users only)

7. Other Items (Tools, materials, or machinery that can act as carriers for pests, including vehicles, containers, bags, packing materials, and other similar articles)

You can also research requirements based on different groups, by region, port group, and crop group. Importers that visit the site will note that there is still some information listed as “coming soon,” but, as mentioned in the USDA statement, the tool is expected to be completed in the fiscal year 2022.

The intention of this tool is to replace the USDA Reference Manuals (you may find the manuals here).

APHIS’ ACIR stakeholders benefits include:

• A user-friendly search tool for commodity import information.

• All relevant import requirements for a given commodity are presented in one place.

• Self-service responses to entry requirement questions.

The ACIR online portal will allow importers to use a simple search interface to locate and display import requirements. Users can check ACIR to see if they need to apply for a permit. APHIS’ eFile system for permit, license, and registration applications uses the ACIR import requirement data when processing plant and plant product permit applications.

APHIS is beta-testing ACIR’s public portal starting with Plants and Plant Products Not for Propagation. The feedback provided by users will help improve the user experience and functionality of the tool as they continue to build it into 2022. Importers may provide feedback here.

If you have any questions about importing agricultural goods into the U.S. or navigating this new system, please contact us today!