On October 3, 2019 Japan’s Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) issued a World Trade Organization (WTO) notification of a regulatory amendment under its Plant Protection Act to exempt certain plants and plant products from requiring phytosanitary certificates. At the same time, Japan is proposing to enforce its requirement for phytosanitary certificates for certain other plants and plant products, including lumber with bark and logs with bark, for which the requirement for phytosanitary certificates has not been enforced historically. MAFF will be implementing the requirement for phytosanitary certificates as of June 2020.
Processed wood products will not be subject to the requirement for a phytosanitary certificate. MAFF interprets “processed” wood as bark free, whether sawn or not, or whether treated or not. The CFIA seeks to clarify if bark free will allow a tolerance for bark and to seek alternatives to phytosanitary certificates (i.e., treatment marks, industry-issued certificates for those products that aren’t bark free). CFIA is seeking input to Japan’s new requirement prior to December 18, 2019 and these comments can be submitted via the Chamber of Shipping.