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Wood packing changes could hit some exporters

DATE 27 May 2005

International wooden packing changes could hit some exporters.

Biosecurity New Zealand is concerned that non-awareness of new international wooden packaging requirements could result in some exports being returned to sender – at the sender’s expense.

The new regulations come into force in September.

The International Standard for Phytosanitary Measures No. 15 (ISPM15) is being adopted by most of New Zealand’s major trading partners. It requires all solid wood packing material thicker than 6mm to be heat-treated or fumigated and stamped with an official ISPM15 mark.

Biosecurity New Zealand Pre-Clearance Senior Adviser Dr Mike Ormsby says the move is aimed at enhancing global biosecurity, but there was concern some exporters may still be unaware of the change and its potential effects.

“Despite extensive efforts from MAF, it’s possible some exporters may not know about these new requirements, and that is a concern. It could be an expensive oversight. Although countries have discretion on what they do with non-compliant wooden packing, the United States in particular has indicated it will return to sender all goods not easily separated from wooden packing at the wharf.

“Of particular concern are the general public who may be sending goods or moving overseas and are not aware that they too will need to comply,” Dr Ormsby says.

It was also crucial that people importing goods into New Zealand informed their suppliers of the new requirement.

“In most countries, including New Zealand, there would be extra charges and delays involved in clearing goods in non-compliant packing across the border, as well as the increased risk of damage,” he says.

New Zealand was one of the first countries to begin accepting ISPM15 compliant wood packaging, and in 2004 established a registration system for compliant wood packaging manufacturers. A list of registered manufacturers is available online at: www.biosecurity.govt.nz/exports/forests/standards/packaging-material.htm.

ENDS

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