By Heather F. Collins, M.S. and Barbara A. Christianson
On August 17, 2021, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that it is now accepting official Foreign Purchaser Acknowledgement Statements (FPAS) and FPAS annual summaries through the Central Data Exchange Pesticide Submission Portal (CDX PSP). EPA states this improved process allows for pesticide exporters to submit an FPAS electronically rather than physically mailing them, providing a key flexibility during the COVID-19 public health emergency. According to the Federal Register notice, an FPAS may be submitted using CDX PSP as of August 18, 2021. 86 Fed. Reg. 46246.
Pesticides intended solely for export from the U.S. to a foreign country are not required to be registered in the U.S., but exporters must submit an FPAS to EPA to comply with requirements under Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) Section 17(a)(2). An FPAS includes critical information about the pesticide intended for export, which EPA uses to notify the Designated National Authority of the importing country.
Exporters have two options for complying with FIFRA Section 17(a) and 40 C.F.R. Section 168.75 through submission of an FPAS to EPA: per-shipment reporting and annual reporting.
Per-Shipment Reporting: To comply with requirements for per-shipment reporting, the exporter must provide EPA with the signed purchaser acknowledgement statement and the accompanying certification for each export within seven working days of the exporter’s receipt of the signed statement or by the date of export (whichever occurs first). The exporter must continue to submit this documentation prior to each shipment.
Annual Reporting: The exporter must submit a signed per-shipment purchaser acknowledgement statement for the first shipment each calendar year of an unregistered pesticide product to a particular purchaser and an annual summary of shipments to that purchaser. This FPAS should indicate that the exporter is choosing to provide an annual summary and certifying that the shipment in the FPAS was the first of the calendar year. When using the annual reporting option, the exporter is required to submit an annual report for each unregistered pesticide exported within the preceding calendar year. The exporter must submit the annual summary no later than March 1 of the following calendar year.
The annual summary report must be in writing, signed by the exporter, and include the following information:
- The dates of each shipment of the pesticide exported to the foreign purchaser during that calendar year; and
- If known, or reasonably ascertainable, the country or countries of final destination of the export shipments.
Information on the required contents of FPAS about submitting statements electronically is available here.
By Barbara A. Christianson
On June 4, 2021, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that it will host a webinar for pesticide registrants to provide registrants an overview on how to request Certificates of Registration, commonly known as Gold Seal letters, using the Pesticide Submission Portal. Gold Seal letters serve as proof for pesticide exporters that the product is registered with EPA and meets all necessary registration requirements.
According to EPA, since launching the digital platform in 2020 in response to the COVID-19 public health emergency, the electronic process has resulted in quicker processing of Gold Seal letters and thorough and complete internal tracking. Due to continuing safety precautions within EPA, it is still unable to produce traditional, paper-based Gold Seal letters. Accordingly, registrants must continue to submit requests through the Pesticide Submission Portal.
Stakeholders interested in attending the presentation can click here to join the online meeting (registration is not required). The webinar will be held on June 14, 2021, at 1:00 p.m. (EDT).
Information on how to request a Gold Seal certificate letter, including information on how registrants should present the letters to the U.S. Department of State when authentication is needed for business purposes, is available here.
By Lisa M. Campbell, Lisa R. Burchi, and Barbara A. Christianson
On November 16, 2020, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that it will now provide pesticide registrants with electronic Certificates of Registration, commonly known as “Gold Seal” letters. A Gold Seal letter from EPA certifies that a product to be exported is registered with EPA and meets all necessary registration requirements. EPA states that this improved process will allow for the electronic Gold Seal letters to be e-mailed to registrants rather than physically mailed.
Under the new process, a company must submit a written request to EPA, identifying the company name, the EPA Registration Number at issue, and the country to which the product will be exported. The Pesticide Registration Improvement Extension Act (PRIA 4) category is M006 and will cover up to five Gold Seal letters for one product with a one-month decision time. The fee for fiscal year 2020-2021 is $291. EPA states that because the fee is low and EPA’s timeframe to respond is short, this category is not eligible for small business waivers. EPA also clarifies that distributor products are not eligible for Gold Seal letters.
Information on how to request a Gold Seal letter, including information on how registrants should present the letters to the U.S. Department of State when authentication is needed for business purposes, is available here.
This announcement is a welcome improvement to the existing process, providing a key flexibility during the COVID-19 public health emergency. EPA expects to transition permanently to this digital process, which it notes allows for faster processing, better tracking, and greater consistency.
By Lisa M. Campbell and Lisa R. Burchi
On May 11, 2016, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Office of Compliance (OC) and Office of Pesticide Programs (OPP) issued a memorandum to its regional Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) Division Directors and Branch Chiefs to establish a joint position of OC and OPP “for how regions should respond to requests for EPA-issued Certificates of Establishment (COEs) and Certificates of Origin (COOs).”
OC and OPP state that the need for a joint position is based on recent requests by exporters to have EPA certify that a specific facility is a registered pesticide producing establishment, or certify that a particular pesticide product was produced at a specific establishment. These certificates are used by exporters to submit to foreign governments that require “‘EPA documentation’ prior to allowing registered and unregistered pesticide products into their jurisdictions.”
Under the new national approach, EPA regional offices are to stop issuing COEs or COOs. In the memorandum, OC and OPP state the following three factors in support of this approach:
- EPA does not believe that FIFRA provides the statutory authority for issuing either a COE or a COO;
- EPA does not believe that regions have the information necessary to certify the origin of an exported pesticide, registered or unregistered, arriving at a foreign destination; and
- EPA believes that COE letters, particularly for unregistered pesticides, may be misleading to foreign governments.
Under this approach whereby EPA regions will cease the previously routine practice of issuing COEs and COOs, companies may encounter difficulties or business disruptions with some foreign governments that have traditionally required COEs and COOs. OC and OPP state that they are “working on making FIFRA Section 7 establishment registration information (that which is not confidential business information) available on OC’s website,” which EPA states could be relied upon in lieu of COEs. As for COOs, OC and OPP suggest that registrants: (1) “should be directed to the exporters for the COO, which can then be certified by a State or local chamber of commerce”; or (2) could seek commercial third-party service providers to handle COO processing for an exporter.
EPA states that the new joint position has no effect on Gold Seal Letters issued by OPP that provide the registration status of a registered pesticide product. Gold Seal Letters will still be issued upon request to the appropriate registered division within OPP.
Registrants are concerned about this new approach, however, and it is likely that debate on it will continue.
By Lisa M. Campbell
On December 19, 2014, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced it is preparing in final the regulations on pesticide export labeling. The new proposed rule corrects the inadvertent removal of a provision that occurred in the January 2013 revisions to these regulations. EPA is restoring the provision that allows information required under the regulations to be placed on collateral labeling (such as bulletins, leaflets, circulars, brochures, data sheets, or flyers) attached to a shipping container of pesticide products rather than on the immediate package of each individual product in the shipment.
Producers of pesticide products and devices intended solely for export will meet EPA’s labeling requirements by attaching a label to the immediate product container, or by providing collateral labeling that is either attached to the immediate product being exported or that accompanies the shipping container of the product being exported at all times when it is shipped or held for shipment in the United States. Collateral labeling will ensure the availability of the required labeling information, while allowing pesticide products and devices that are intended solely for export to be labeled for use in and consistent with the applicable requirements of the importing country.
On January 18, 2013, EPA revised its export label regulations (40 C.F.R. Part 168 Subpart D) concerning the labeling of pesticide products and devices intended solely for export. The revisions were effective on March 19, 2013, with a compliance date of January 21, 2014. Industry stakeholders subsequently expressed concern to EPA that certain provisions no longer appeared in this Subpart, and the inability of registrants to use the labeling method allowed in the previous regulations could create trade barriers and increase costs. EPA agreed and on April 30, 2014, issued a direct final rule to replace the provision that was inadvertently removed. Since EPA received written adverse comment on the direct final rule, EPA withdrew that direct final rule, and issued a new proposed rule to seek public comment on the changes. EPA is now preparing the revisions in final to its export labeling regulations to replace the provision that was inadvertently removed.
The final revisions are available at www.regulations.gov, docket number EPA-HQ-OPP-2009-0607. Additional information on EPA requirements for importers and exporters is available at www2.epa.gov/importing-exporting.