ANNOUNCED AS TEMPORARYNo
Import licensing requirement
The (U.S.) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) announced in July 2011 that, in response to requests from trading partners, it is streamlining its internal procedures. Some of the reforms have already been in place since July 1, 2011 and others are still being adopted. The goal of the effort is to streamline and improve procedures that are used when trading partners seek agency approval to ship new plants, animals, and related agricultural products to the United States.
APHIS conducted review of its approval processes in the following areas:
Veterinary biologics licensing with the goal of reducing the processing time involved in reviewing product license applications from veterinary biologic firms and increasing transparency;
Granting nonregulated status to genetically engineered (GE) organisms with the goal of reducing the overall length and variability of the time it takes for the petition process;
Risk assessment and rulemaking regarding petitions to allow imports of animal and plant products with the goal of improving and streamlining the risk assessment and rulemaking processes for imported animal and plant products; and
Streamlining the enforcement process against those who jeopardize plant and animal health and animal welfare. Improvements will allow APHIS to focus on the most serious violators, more quickly apply appropriate sanctions, and resolve typical cases in substantially less time.
One of the biggest improvements that the agency will now employ is to inform a petitioner at the start of a licensing request or risk assessment procedure of all of the documentation and related materials that APHIS will require as the process unfolds. APHIS expects these changes will reduce the overall time it takes to process a complete license application by about 100 days, a savings of 20%, with the potential for additional time savings as these changes are implemented. The new improvements will also enable APHIS to better track applications that are pending, especially those which have seen little to no activity over a protracted period of time.
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