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Report on Beyond The Border Perimeter Security and Economic Competitiveness Action Plan: AGM Joint Assessment

AGM Lymantria dispar asiatica Vukovskij, L. dispar japonica (Motschulsky), L. albescens Hori and Umeno, L. umbrosa (Butler), and L. postalba Inque are not present in North America and are considered to be quarantine pests in Canada and the United States The regulated areas for AGM currently include Far East Russia, Japan, South Korea and China. The larval stage of AGM feeds on over 500 known host plants including many deciduous and coniferous trees and is considered to be a serious threat to North American forests, horticulture and agriculture industries and to biodiversity. If introduced, AGM could cause significant damage to the North American plant resource base, commerce that relies on those plant resources and to market access.

Given the potential negative impacts of AGM in North America, incursions of the pest in the past have required immediate and extensive eradication actions at significant cost. For example, major AGM outbreaks in the early 1990s in British Columbia and in the United States were linked to introductions of AGM from Asian ships and resulted in eradication programs costing Canada C$6 Million and the United States US$9 Million. The certification of vessels as free from AGM upon departure from ports in regulated areas is recognized by both the United States and Canada as a key measure in preventing AGM introduction into North America.

Canada and the U.S. implemented phytosanitary measures for AGM on vessels from the Russian Far East in 1992 to mitigate risk while minimizing impacts to Asia-Pacific trade. In 2007, under a North American Plant Protection Organization (NAPPO) initiative, CFIA and APHIS informed China, Japan and South Korea that phytosanitary measures for AGM on ships calling on their ports would be required. APHIS and CFIA have met with officials in regulated countries to discuss pre-departure certification and surveillance programs, regulatory and policy issues, non-compliances and joint training. The CFIA and APHIS requirement for pre-departure certification for vessels as per the North American Plant Protection Organization (NAPPO) standard was fully implemented in 2012.

Currently, cyclical outbreaks of AGM in regulated countries are creating high risks for introduction through vessel traffic arriving in North America. During summer 2012, numerous detections of AGM were made on vessels and cargo originating from regulated ports in Korea, Japan and China. These detections lead to a loss of confidence in the pre-departure inspection and certification program, costly delays to stakeholders at North American ports and higher costs for risk mitigation in North America. This resulted in CFIA and APHIS actively engaging in a joint assessment to discuss issues and solution, determine plans of action in tri-lateral negotiations, and improve program objectives.

Canada and the United States believe that a well-maintained AGM certification program at origin continues to be the most cost efficient and effective method to mitigate the risk of AGM incursions with minimal impact to trade. APHIS and CFIA continue to work with the National Plant Protection Organizations (NPPOs) of Korea, Japan, Russia and China to enhance the pre-departure inspection and certification program.

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