Thursday, December 15, 2016

Canada-U.S. sign plant trade agreement

Canada and the United States have signed a new agreement for trading greenhouse-grown plants.

It comes a month before president-elect Donald Trump, who talks tough on trade deals, gains control.

The United States – Canada Greenhouse-Grown Plant Certification Program (GCP) is a bilateral export certification program for greenhouse-grown plants shipped between Canada and the continental United States.

It is administered by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and the United States Department of Agriculture.

The program allows authorized facilities to ship plants using a GCP sticker in place of a phytosanitary certificate, which relates to the control of plant pests.

The revised GCP strengthens oversight of plant movement, requires consistent implementation of the program, and reflects current business practices, says the CFIA on its website.

There will be a two-year period for facilities registered in the current Canadian Greenhouse Certification Program to transition to the GCP.

Facilities that have not completed the transition may continue to ship under the current program until the end of the transition period.

Some key changes to the program include the following:

   The current lists of excluded plants are replaced by a requirement for plants to meet both countries' phytosanitary requirements;

   Authorized facilities will prepare and use a written Pest Management Plan, and

   There is a mechanism for items such as bamboo stakes – which currently require a separate phytosanitary certificate – to be included under the GCP sticker.

The CFIA and APHIS division of the U.S. Department of Agriculture say they believe that improvements made through the GCP revisions strengthen their abilities to meet their mission of protecting North American agriculture and natural resources.

The revised GCP also streamlines the shipping process, thereby improving efficiency and providing cost savings to all parties, says the CFIA.