ANNOUNCEMENT 15 Jun 2015In June 2015, the government of the United States of America announced a change in import formalities.
NUMBER OF INTERVENTIONS
On June 15, 2015 the Office of Procurement and Property Management of the U.S. Department of Agriculture published two final rules in the Federal Register (Volume 80, Number 114) that clarify that programs intended to promote the use of bio-based products are intended to do so irrespective of national origin, such that imported bio-based products will receive the same treatment as those of domestic origin.
One of these rules concerns the Voluntary Labeling Program for Biobased Products and the other the Guidelines for Designating Biobased Products for Federal Procurement. Both rules took effect upon publication. Both clarifications result from the comment process, and in each case are based on substantially the same comment.
In discussing the final rule concerning the Voluntary Labeling Program for Biobased Products the agency observed that it had received one comment to its preliminary rules from a commenter that 'wanted 'it' to take into account that a finished wood product may be sourced domestically or globally' and that the rule should not ''inadvertently create a technical barrier to trade' and ... not exclude imported wood products that were harvested and exported legally in the U.S. and in their country of origin.' In its response the agency stated that it 'agrees with the commenters that the proposed innovative criteria should not be considered as an all-inclusive list,' 'recognizes that sustainability advances are occurring worldwide and does not intend that new and valid certifications be excluded from consideration by the BioPreferred Program.' It said that the final rule clarifies 'that evidence of an innovative approach will not be restricted to only those innovative criteria listed in the Guidelines and that consideration of other evidence will be on a case-by-case basis.' Substantially the same issues are covered in the other final rule.