UKTC Archive

RE: OPM Telegraph article

Subject: RE: OPM Telegraph article
From: Jon Heuch
Date: Jul 30 2019 15:41:25


There are a number of things going on. Some people like to see the “police”
force at the border thinking that this is the best way of control; it gives
a psychological support to the idea that we are in a fort & can control what
comes in……TV reinforces that feeling.


Clearly, that has all gone when it comes to trade with EU countries. There
is no border control. What  you see at Heathrow is for non-EU countries. 


For EU country trade there are plant passports which are meant to show the
plants are fit for purpose so can be traded. I can’t see that they are much
better than plant phytosanitary certificates, which most people would give
much weight to. There are also plant inspectors in this country who monitor
the trade, based on risk. So with pre notification of trade APHA can now
work out where trees of several species have gone, if need be. Trace forward
and trace back mechanisms have allowed this to be done with the oaks
recently inspected. They could do it with several other tree species, if
needed…….but if OPM on the imported oaks had been found a few weeks or
months later it would have been too late…..the moths are starting to fly
very shortly.


It is not so much as being lax; it is risk based; the NZders don’t think
they are doing anything different to us…….but if you have 1,300,000 ha of
Pinus radiata stretching almost as far as Auckland airport……and it’s one of
your major export industries you’re probably going to be quite worried about
things slipping in. Similarly for horticulture and dairy. If land based
industries are a relatively small part of your economy and your tourists
mostly come into London & don’t go anywhere near the countryside you may
take a different approach. If you are heavily dependent on imports of food,
agricultural & horticultural products you’re probably also going to take a
different approach to a country that is mostly exporting them.


So, in brief, the whole process is “risk-based”; the reason why there is
pre-notification of imports of several tree species is because of this.
Unfortunately, it does not stop me giving my gardener some cash and going to
Europe to buy some trees from me – no pre notification required. If he was
using his own cash & would then sell them to me he would need to register
and pre-notify, but I wonder whether everyone does this.


I’m not defending the system, merely describing it. At times I think it’s
madness – free trade at no risk to the trader, but the public purse bears
the risk. We could have avoided OPM & now we’re spending £1,000,000 a year
at control which we know is not stopping it spreading.





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