On February 16, 2005, the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) presented a letter to the People’s Republic of China regarding their intent to suspend imports of Chinese-origin craft items made from wooden logs, limbs, branches or twigs greater than 1 centimeter in diameter and with intact bark. This import suspension, beginning April 1, 2005 will affect, but is not limited to, artificial Christmas trees with wooden trunks and garden trellises.
APHIS is concerned with the potential introduction of wood-boring quarantine pests into the United States from China. The primary insects of concern are Callidiellum villosulum and Callidiellum rufipenne, also known as the brown (fir) longhorn beetle and the Japanese cedar longhorn beetle, which are both related to the Asian longhorn beetle; currently being eradicated in Chicago and the Metropolitan New York area.
In January 2005, APHIS conducted its fourth recall in a consecutive six month period for wooden decorative items imported from China. The last recall was the result of the Maryland Department of Agriculture interception of multiple Callidiellum villosulum beetles that had emerged from kiln dried certified artificial Christmas trees manufactured in China. Callidiellum villosulum is believed to be native to the Henan, Jiangsu, Zhejiang, and Fujian Provinces in China. Because this insect appears to be capable of attacking living trees and could survive in the southern third of the United States, it is perceived as a high-risk pest.
The craft items, such as the artificial Christmas trees, had been enterable into the United States from China with heat treatment (T494-b-4 kiln sterilization). However, continual interception of quarantine significant pests indicates a failure in the Chinese kiln drying program. The restriction will remain in place, pending the adoption of adequate mitigation measures by Chinese exporters.