Markey Joins Hassan on Letter to Secretaries Perdue and Zinke Urging them to Make it Easier for New England Small Businesses to Export Goods

Senators Hassan, Shaheen, Warren, and Markey Urge Secretaries to Provide More Types of Inspections at Boston Port so New England Businesses Do Not Need to Travel to New York for Inspections

 

WASHINGTON - Yesterday, Senator Ed Markey(D-MA) joined Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH) on a letter with Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke urging them to make it easier for New England small businesses to import and export goods by making Boston an inspection site for the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).

 

Currently, New England small businesses that need CITES certification before exporting their goods must travel to Queens, NY for inspection, which creates a strain on their resources and workforce.

 

"Companies, such as Gibson Bagpipes, LLC, in Nashua, New Hampshire - which uses newly CITES-listed African Blackwood - must travel to Queens, New York to have their bagpipes inspected for overseas sales. Gibson Bagpipes is a small company, and sending an employee on a daylong trip for the inspection is a strain on their resources and workforce," the Senators wrote.

 

To address this issue and provide innovative small businesses in the region with the support they need to grow and thrive, the Senators request that the Port of Boston have the ability to validate CITES documents for products containing CITES-listed non-living plant materials.

 

"We respectfully request that the necessary adjustments be made at the Port of Boston to allow for validation of CITES documents, and inspection of imports and exports of any products containing CITES-listed non-living plant materials," the Senators requested.

 

The full text of the letter is below:

 

Dear Secretary Perdue and Secretary Zinke:

 

We write to seek your assistance in helping ensure that small New England businesses have fast and convenient access to the necessary inspections needed to allow them to import and export their goods.

 

As you know, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) help ensure compliance with the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), which preserves endangered animals and plants by ensuring that international trade does not threaten the survival of these species. 

 

While there was a recent expansion of designated CITES ports where products containing CITES-listed materials can be inspected and cleared for import and export, there is still no such port in New England, meaning that the nearest CITES inspection station is located in New York State.  While regular trips to New York State may be a minor inconvenience for large companies shipping in mass quantities, small businesses that make sales in single or small batches face cost and personnel barriers when forced to travel long distances for inspection.  

 

Companies, such as Gibson Bagpipes, LLC, in Nashua, New Hampshire -- which uses newly CITES-listed African Blackwood -- must travel to Queens, New York to have their bagpipes inspected for overseas sales.  Gibson Bagpipes is a small company, and sending an employee on a daylong trip for the inspection is a strain on their resources and workforce.

 

To address this problem, we believe the Port of Boston, Massachusetts should have the ability to validate CITES documents, and the ability to inspect and clear imports and exports of products containing CITES-listed non-living plant materials.  Under the guidelines outlined in the FWS notice titled "Validation of CITES documents for products containing both CITES-listed plants species and wildlife species," which calls for collaboration between FWS and APHIS, the FWS already has the capability to inspect and clear imports to and exports from the Port of Boston that contain both wildlife species and CITES-listed non-living plant species.  We respectfully request that the necessary adjustments be made at the Port of Boston to allow for validation of CITES documents, and inspection of imports and exports of any products containing CITES-listed non-living plant materials.

 

We appreciate your attention to this matter, and remain committed to working with FWS and APHIS to improve the CITES inspection process for New England small businesses.  Due to the immediate impact these matters have on the day-to-day operations of small businesses, we look forward to your timely response. 

 

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