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customs and border protection

Tracing a Path Out of a Costly Trade Dispute

When we shop for items like orange juice at the grocery store, we often take for granted what goes on behind the scenes before we can enjoy these quality foods. Our nation’s producers and processors do not take it for granted. These products represent their livelihood, and the ability to reach new customers—especially through the export market—is critical to their businesses’ success. Recently, the USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) helped four businesses from Florida avert a costly 54% tariff, enabling them to continue to export frozen concentrated orange juice duty free to South Korea.

The US – Korea Free Trade Agreement (KORUS FTA) exempts U.S. orange juice from a 54% tariff when exported to Korea. However, in March 2013 Korean officials questioned the domestic origin of orange juice exported from the Sunshine State to the East Asian country. Without proof that the juice came from the U.S., exporters faced the costly tariff and the volume of exports to South Korea decreased. It was a huge loss for the Florida citrus industry which creates 76,000 jobs and pumps $9 billion into its local economy.

When Traveling, Bring Back Fun Memories-Not Invasive Pests!

Travel is a popular activity for a lot of people.  When traveling outside the United States, what you bring back really does matter.  We want to protect our country from invasive plant pests and diseases to help keep our agriculture and forests safe.

You don’t want to inadvertently bring a pest or disease back with you.  That’s why Customs officials ask you to declare any food, plant items or handicrafts you have with you when you are returning to the U.S.  They know what items pose a risk and need to be kept out of the country. Many of those items are things you may not think could possibly cause a problem, but they could cause severe problems here at home—who wants that?

Jamaica and the United States Team Up to Keep Out Invasive Pests

The “Don’t Pack a Pest” campaign went international last month as Jamaica enthusiastically kicked off its own version of the outreach initiative in Montego Bay and Kingston.  The Florida-based program warns the public about the risks of bringing undeclared agricultural products—and hitchhiking invasive pests—from one country to another.  It’s a cooperative effort among the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS), USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Customs and Border Protection (CBP), and now the Jamaica Ministry of Agriculture.

USDA Encourages Summer Travelers to Protect American Agriculture by Not Packing a Pest

Whether you’re studying abroad in Europe, traveling on business in Asia, or taking that dream vacation to Hawaii, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is urging summer travelers to join us in the fight against invasive pests by not packing a pest.

While agricultural products make tempting souvenirs, invasive pests can hitchhike on fruits, vegetables, meats, processed foods, plants, and handicraft items.  If these invasive pests were to become established in the United States, they could devastate urban and rural landscapes and cost billions of dollars in lost revenue and eradication efforts.  As a result, APHIS restricts or prohibits the entry of certain agricultural products from foreign countries and from Hawaii and U.S. territories.

USDA Does its Part to Bring Valentine’s Day Cheer

Did you know that USDA helps in bringing Valentine’s Day cheer every year? With the help of Department of Homeland Security’s Customs and Border Protection, USDA’s Animal and Plant health Inspection Service (APHIS) safely imports millions of cut flowers into the US free from harmful plant pests and diseases from Jan 1 to Feb 14th in preparation for the Valentine’s Season.