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Import and Export Trade Requirements

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Delivering a cleaner, healthier environment for all people

EPA is committed to assisting, growers, importers, and exporters to comply with pesticide regulatory trade requirements to minimize trade barriers and facilitate fair competition while maintaining strict safety standards. Information about U.S. import and export requirements is provided below.


Importing and Exporting Pesticide Products

EPA regulates both the import and export of pesticides. All pesticides which are intended to be used in the US must first be registered with EPA prior to import. All registered pesticides which are exported to other countries must bear the product label approved by EPA. The US is a signatory to the Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent (PIC) Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade, which controls trade in banned and severely restricted pesticides. Ratification activities are underway; once ratified, the PIC Convention requirements may affect the existing export procedures for listed substances.

FIFRA requirements related to export of unregistered pesticides. (reminder letter (PDF) (2pp, 649K, about PDF) sent to over 7500 U.S. pesticide companies, June 24, 2010.) Generic Questions and Answers from the exporter notification letter (PDF) (6pp, 43K, about PDF)

Note: The No Action Assurance (NAA) Regarding Pesticide Export Labeling will be in place until a direct final rule is complete.

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Export of Unregistered Pesticides (FIFRA Section 17(a))

Pesticides that are not approved - or registered - for use in the U.S. may be manufactured in the U.S. and exported. FIFRA Section 17(a) requires that exporters of unregistered pesticides first obtain a statement signed by the foreign purchaser indicating the purchaser's awareness of that product in the U.S. The requirement is shipment-specific for a particular exporter, product and purchaser.

To ensure that national officials responsible for the protection of health and the environment are informed of this shipment, EPA transmits a copy of the statement to the Designated National Authority (DNA) (so designated as part of the United Nations program on Prior Informed Consent) in the receiving country. EPA is placing the highest priority on timely notification for two categories of exported pesticides which EPA believes may be of greatest concern to countries:

  1. pesticides on the international list of Prior Informed Consent (PIC), Exit EPA disclaimer most of which have also been banned or severely restricted in the U.S., and
  2. other pesticides banned and severely restricted in the U.S. for health or environmental reasons, which are not on the PIC list.

It is EPA's intention to make the U.S. export notification program compatible with the international one, while meeting domestic legislative requirements. Revisions to the U.S. export notification program will be considered in the context of implementation of the PIC Agreement.

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Import Notifications of Pesticides and Devices (FIFRA Section 17(c))

Announcement:

The government is open, and EPA is reviewing notices of arrival (NOAs) as quickly as possible. Please be patient as we work through the backlog of notices.

The importation of pesticides and devices is governed by FIFRA Section 17(c). All imported pesticides intended for use in the United States must be registered as required by Section 3 of FIFRA before being permitted entry into the US. Devices that are imported to be used in conjunction with pesticides, although not required to be registered, must not bear any statement, design, or graphic representation that is false or misleading in any particular. Pesticides and devices must be properly labeled in accordance with FIFRA and Title 40 of the Code of Federal Regulations, Section 156.

When importing pesticides or devices to the U.S., the importer must submit to the appropriate EPA Regional Offices an EPA Form 3540-1 "Notice of Arrival (NOA) of Pesticides and Devices". Once EPA Regional Office staff have approved the shipment, they return the NOA form to the importer. Upon arrival of a shipment of pesticides or devices, the importer must present the approved NOA form to the district director of Customs at the port of entry. EPA's Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance (OECA) has the primary enforcement responsibility for pesticide importing requirements, with the support of EPA's Regional Offices.

Required Form provided in below:

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Importing and Exporting Foods Containing Pesticide Residues

EPA sets limits on how much of a pesticide residue can remain on food and feed products, or commodities. These pesticide residue limits are known as tolerances. Tolerances are set to protect you from harmful levels of pesticides on your food.

Food imported into the U.S. is subject to a variety of Federal laws, administered by a number of different Federal agencies.

Other resource information.


Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA)

Exit EPA disclaimer

Section 408 of the FFDCA permits EPA to establish, modify, or revoke tolerances or exemptions from the requirement of a tolerance (e.g. Maximum Residue Limits) at its initiative or in response to petitions submitted.  These tolerances or exemptions cover pesticide chemical residues present in or on the food produced in and outside the U.S. The FFDCA prohibits movement in interstate commerce of adulterated and misbranded foods. 

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) samples imported and domestic foods to ensure that pesticide residues are within established tolerances or are covered by exemptions.  EPA-established tolerance levels are listed in Parts 180-186 of Title 40 of the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations, and are available on the EPA website www.epa.gov/pesticides/food/viewtols.htm.  Additional information about FDA monitoring and import procedures is available on FDA's web site. 

Federal Meat Inspection Act (FMIA), Poultry Products Inspection Act (PPIA), and Egg Products Inspection Act (EPIA)

While FDA is responsible for pesticide residue monitoring and enforcement of most foods, the USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service is responsible for the wholesomeness and safety of meat, poultry, and egg products intended for human consumption under the authority of FMIA, PPIA, and EPIA.  For pesticide residues, this is accomplished by sampling and analyzing edible tissues.

Tolerance Information

This is a searchable data base which identifies all the pesticide tolerances established on all foods.

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