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F.No.: 450/19/2005-Cus.IV

2nd April, 2009.
159-A, North Block,
New Delhi-110 001.

Government of India
Ministry of Finance
(Department of Revenue)
Central Board of Excise & Customs


All Commissioners of Customs / Customs (Prev.).
All Commissioners of Customs & Central Excise.

Subject: Implementation of the provisions of Phytosanitary requirements under the Plant Quarantine (Regulation of Import into India) Order, 2003 - regarding.

Sir / Madam,

Your attention is invited to the Board’s Circular No.39/2004-Customs dated 3.6.2004 on the subject mentioned above, wherein, it was stated that the newly introduced sub-clause 20A of Clause 3 of the Plant Quarantine (Regulation of Import into India) Order, 2003 had entered into force w.e.f. 1.9.2004.

2. In terms of the above provisions, no article, packed with raw or solid wood packaging material shall be released by the proper officer of Customs unless the wood packaging material has been appropriately treated and marked as per International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures (ISPM) No. 15 or accompanied by a phytosanitary certificate with the treatment endorsed. The instructions also provided that the proper officer of Customs shall grant release of such articles packed with untreated wood packaging material only after ensuring that the wood packaging material has been appropriately treated at the point of entry under the supervision of Plant Quarantine Officer.

3. However, during a recent meeting with the Department of Agriculture and Cooperation, it was pointed out that the cases of phytosanitary non-compliance to the ISPM-15 requirements in respect of packaging material are not being reported to the Plant Quarantine authorities. It has also been reported by them that disconcerting reports of rejection of our export consignments on phytosanitary grounds have been noticed. In view of the above, you may like to instruct the Customs Officers to report the non-compliant cases to the concerned Plant Quarantine Station / authorities for necessary action.

4. In this regard, it is stated that ISPM-15, the Standards prescribed for wood packaging material describes about the phytosanitary treatment or measures required to be taken to reduce the risk of introduction and/or spread of quarantine pests associated with wood packaging material (including dunnage), made of coniferous and non-coniferous raw wood. As regards imports, sub-clause 20A of Clause 3 of the Plant Quarantine (Regulation of Import into India) Order, 2003 require that all wood packaging material, raw or solid, shall be subject to specified treatment and carrying the ISPM-15 marking on it. As regards goods exported from India, since many countries require that the wood packaging material is to be treated prior to shipment in order to satisfy their Plant Quarantine requirements, the Directorate of Plant Protection Quarantine & Storage have issued instructions to various phytosanitary certificate issuing authorities for strict adherence to the protocols and guidelines issued by that Department for issuance of phytosanitary certificates. With an increasing number of exports involving rejection of agri-export consignments on phytosanitary grounds, the Department of Agriculture and Cooperation have requested to sensitize the officers of the Customs about the requirements of ISPM – 15 Standards. In order to explain the requirements of ISPM-15 on imports and exports of goods packed in raw or solid wood materials, significance of ISPM – 15 marking on wood packaging material and its identification by various stakeholders who handle import / export consignments at customs stations, it is stated that during monthly trade facilitation meetings held in the Commissionerates, the Plant Quarantine Officers may be required to explain the compliance requirements in terms of the ISPM-15 so that minimum inconvenience is caused to the importers / exporters while ensuring checking of the wood packaging.

5. In view of the above, the instructions of the Board contained in Circular No.9/2004-Customs dated 3.6.2004 regarding checking of wood packaging material in the imported consignments are reiterated and it is requested that the cases of non-compliance to the standards of ISPM-15 may be reported to the concerned Plant Quarantine station / authorities for taking necessary action.

6. The field formations as well as trade and industry may be suitably informed.

Yours faithfully,

(M.M. Parthiban)
Director (Customs)

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