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EU Standing Committee on Plant Health advise of a temporary derogation (1st January 2010) from the emergency measures (outlined below) against pine wood nemotode.  Click here:

Emergency measures to prevent the spread of Pine Wood Nematode from Portugal

Controls apply to the export from Portugal of conifer wood products, including logs, sawn wood, chips, bark and wood packaging material such as boxes, crates pallets and the like which originated there. These are set out in Commission Decision 2006/133/EC and its various amendments (link ). Wood Packaging Material (WPM) manufactured in Portugal from conifer wood has had to meet the requirements of ISPM 15, the international phytosanitary standard covering WPM which demands that it be treated (or fumigated with Methyl bromide) and stamped with the ISPM 15 mark which shows the country of production, a unique producer code and the code for the treatment used i.e. 'HT' or 'MB'.

Despite these measures, many Member States have reported detecting PWN in WPM arriving from Portugal, sometimes on unmarked WPM so it has not been possible to tell where it was made, and in order to avoid the possibility that untreated Portuguese WPM 'slips thorough the net' the rules have been further amended. From 16 June 2009 all WPM made from conifer wood exported from Portugal will need to meet ISPM 15 requirements. This includes WPM made from conifer wood imported into Portugal from the other Member States and then re-used for subsequent exports.

Although there is no legal obligation to use ISPM15 compliant WPM for goods shipped into Portugal from any other Member State, we strongly advise exporters in the UK to consider using treated and ISPM 15 marked WPM, regardless of wood type, wherever possible so as to ensure that there are no delays in delivering goods. This will be particularly important where the consignor expects to have the WPM returned, either empty or used to carry other goods. Many importers in Portugal are expected to demand the use of ISPM 15 WPM by their suppliers, so as to avoid the need to otherwise dispose of and replace WPM for subsequent use. The Portuguese authorities have confirmed that they do not have sufficient heat treatment capacity to deal with untreated imported WPM, and destruction appears to be the only alternative. Our advice covers all WPM regardless of wood type because of the difficulty in determining wood species, especially where more than one species is used in the manufacture of WPM. In cases of doubt, we can expect at least a delay in shipping while checks are carried out. This may well lead to increased costs.

Under the new procedures, all Member States will now be required to carry out routine checks on wood and wood packaging material imported into their country from Portugal. These checks can be carried out at any place where the material may be present and not necessarily confined to the point of entry (port or airport). The Forestry Commission plans to continue with spot checks on some goods as they arrive, where practicable, and will also be visiting importers to check on WPM used to ship goods from Portugal. We already carry out spot checks on wood shipped from Portugal. We do not, however, plan to place unnecessary burdens on business and will not, for example, be imposing inspection fees as we do for imports from non-EU countries. In the event that non-compliant wood or WPM is found, the occupier of the premises or the person in charge of the material will, however, be responsible for any remedial action deemed necessary. Those placing orders with Portuguese suppliers are strongly advised to make it a contractual requirement that only ISPM 15 compliant WPM is used and binding suppliers to meet any costs arising out of a failure to do so. The European Commission has also indicated that it plans to propose extending the use of ISPM15 to regulate WPM used in all intra-Community trade. This is subject to negotiations with the wood packaging industry which currently does not have sufficient treatment capacity across the EU to meet such a demand.

See also: Press Release issued 24 April 2009 by the EU Directorate General Communication (Click here)
(Last Updated: 26/06/2009)