A BRIEF NOTE ON REQUIREMENT OF IMPORT PERMIT (IP) UNDER P.Q.ORDER, 2003
- Present Provisions:
The provisions and the conditions related to the requirement of IP for import of plants and plant material are laid down under P.Q.Order, 2003, CHAPTER III, Para 3 and the relevant sub-para (1) – (12) are reproduced as below:
(1) No consignment of plants and plant products and other regulated articles (hereinafter referred to as ‘consignments’) shall be imported into India without a valid permit issued under this Order.
Provided that no such permit shall be required for the articles mentioned in Schedule VII.
(2) No categories of plant materials in respect of the plant species or variety mentioned in Schedule-IV shall be allowed to be imported into India from the countries mentioned against each in column (4) of the said Schedule.
(3) Every application for a permit under this clause shall be made at least seven days in advance to the Issuing Authority as listed in Schedule-X, in Form PQ 01 for the import of plants and plant products for consumption and processing and in form PQ 02 for import of seeds and plants for propagation covered under Schedule-V and VI.
(4) Import of consignments of seeds of coarse cereals, pulses, oil seeds and fodder seeds and seeds/stock material of fruit plant species for propagation shall only be permitted based on the recommendations of EXIM Committee of Department of Agriculture & Cooperation, except the trial material of the same as specified in Schedule-XII of Plant Quarantine Order.
(5) A fee of Rs.150/- shall be payable along with the application for the import of seeds, fruits and plants for consumption and Rs.300/- for application for the import of seeds and plants for sowing or planting and the fee shall be payable in the form of Demand Draft payable to the Competent Authority having jurisdiction.
(6) The Issuing Authority as listed in Schedule-X shall issue permit in quadruplicate in form PQ 03 for import of plants and plant products for consumption and in form PQ 04 for import of seeds and plants for sowing or planting, if he is satisfied that the applicant meets all the necessary conditions. One copy of import permit shall be forwarded to the exporter in advance to facilitate incorporation of import permit number in the phytosanitary certificate issued by the exporting country. The import permit shall be issued subject to such restrictions and conditions prescribed under Schedule-V and VI.
(7) The Plant Protection Adviser shall, after obtaining the approval of the Central Government in the Department of Agriculture and Cooperation and based on International Standards established by the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) under Food and Agriculture Organization, issue the guidelines for carrying out Pest Risk Analysis (PRA). No import shall be permitted for the consignment other than those listed in Schedule-V, VI and VII unless the Pest Risk Analysis is carried out in accordance with such guidelines and subject to such restrictions and conditions
as specified in such permit. For this purpose the importer shall file an Import PRA request form with PPA. The process of PRA involves the categorization of pests associated with the commodity into quarantine pests; evaluation of their introduction potential; critical assessment of economic and environmental impact of their introduction; and specification of risk mitigating measures against them. The completion of PRA process may involve the visit of phytosanitary experts to the country of export to carry out pre-shipment inspections, evaluate post–harvest treatment technologies and quarantine inspection and certification facilities. In the event of interception of a quarantine pest in imported consignment, further import of consignments shall be suspended until earlier PRA in respect of the consignment is reviewed and the risk mitigating measures are evaluated.
(8) The issue of permit may be refused or withheld by the issuing authority after giving reasonable notice to the applicant and for reasons to be recorded in writing.
(9) The Import Permit issued shall be valid for six months from the date of issue and valid for multiple port access and multiple part shipments provided the exporter, importer and country of origin are the same for the entire consignment. The issuing authority may, on request, extend the period of validity for a further period of six months after charging Rs. 200/- and Rs. 100/- as revalidation fee for propagation and consumption plant material respectively provided such request for extension of validity is made to the issuing authority before the expiry of the permit with adequate reasons to be recorded in writing. The quantity mentioned in the import permit if exceeds by up to 10% maybe allowed by charging additional inspection fee and import permit fee provided the excess quantity reflected in the phytosanitary certificate from the country of exporting. The import permit will become invalid if quantity exceeds more than 10% of the quantity of import permit. Suppression of the facts or any material information while issue import permit, it is liable to be cancelled or with drawn.
(10) The import permit issued shall not be transferable and no amendments to the permit shall be issued except for change of point of entry subject to reasons to be recorded in writing.
(11) An orange and green colour tag shall be issued in form PQ 05 in the case of permits issued for import of seeds and plants for sowing or planting so as to facilitate the identification of consignments at the time of their arrival at the point of entry.
(12) No consignment of seed or grain shall be permitted to be imported with contamination of quarantine weeds, which are listed in Schedule-VIII unless the said consignment has been devitalized by the exporting country and a certificate to that effect has been endorsed in the phytosanitary certificate issued by the exporting country. Every application for quarantine inspection and clearance shall be made in Form PQ 15.
- Other relevant facts/issues:
- The Import Permit issued reflects the additional declarations and special conditions including the phytosanitary treatments required, if any, to be complied for the import of that commodity.
- The IP indicates the specific Port of Entry through which a commodity has been allowed to be imported for example, the seeds/ planting material, bio-control agents, microbial cultures etc. are allowed through certain specified ports only.
- The IP provides advance information to the Plant Quarantine Officers about the tentative arrival and the quantum of a commodity to be prepared to handle it effectively. (e.g. special arrangements/efforts are required to handle the bulk import of wheat at various ports)
- The IPPC under the revised text, 1997, Article- IV, Para – 3.a. states that;
“Each contracting party shall make provision, to the best of its ability, for the distribution of information within the territory of the contracting party regarding regulated pests and the means of their prevention and control” and the purpose of IP listed at para i – iii above are in line with the IPPC’s this Article.
- The issuance of IP also facilitates the compliance of Article V of the IPPC relating to phytosanitary certification as per the requirement of importing contracting party.
- The provision for requirement of IP is in force even before the Plants, Fruits and Seeds (Regulation of imports into India) Order, 1984 (PFS, Order, 1984) and were carried through the subsequent PQ regulation amendments i.e. PFS Order, 1989.
- Initially, the IPs were being issued from Head Quarter office of the Directorate, Faridabad. However, in order to facilitate the trade, the list of IP issuing authorities was enlarged and the issuance of IP was decentralized by authorizing various officers of PQ stations during 1990.
- The provision for requirement of IP was amended to allow the import of plants and plant material meant for consumption with out the IP in 1992. However, the plants/ planting material imported for sowing and planting continued to attract the requirement of IP.
- The decision of importing plant/plant material for consumption with out was reviewed and the requirement of Import Permit was made mandatory for the import of plants/ plant materials for consumption as well, as for propagating material and the P.F.S.Order, 1989 was appropriately amended vide Notification S.O.378 (E) dated 1.5.2001 which came in to force with effect from 1.6.2001.
- The provision for requirement of IP was also maintained in the next revision of the plant quarantine regulation i.e. present Plant Quarantine (Regulation of Import into India) Order, 2003 (Q.Order, 2003).
- However, subsequently the provision was amended to take out the requirement of IP for the plant material imported for consumption/processing listed under Schedule-VII that seems to be justified and also in line with the spirit of the IPPC as there is no specific phytosanitary requirement for these commodities and the phytosanitary risk is considered to be minimal.
- Various countries have the provision for requirement of IP issued prior to the import of plants/ plant material including USA, Australia, Philippine, China, Chile etc. The commodities covered under IP in certain countries depend upon the phytosanitary risk involved with the import of that commodity (e.g. USA – IP is required for all fresh fruits and vegetables, including import of mango fruits) where as some countries requires IP invariably for all imported commodities (e.g. Philippine and malaysia also require the endorsement of IP No. on Phytosanitary Certificate).
The absence of IP particularly in relation to the commodities which attract the additional declarations and /or special conditions under P.Q.Order may lead to the complications and affect all stake holders in the trade including importer, importing NPPO, exporter and the exporting NPPO in terms of delays in phytosanitary certification, delayed PQ clearance that may also result in financial implications to the global trade.