Question about importing flasks.

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Bob in Albany N.Y.

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Yesterday, I talked to some one that had paph. flasks for sale in another country. They are not a business, just an individual. The few flasks offered look to be large plants but only about 20 per flask. I was wondering what would be required to have him send me a few flasks? The only reason I saw a few flasks is that the cost of shipping a single one is quite high. The shipping cost is higher then the cost of the single flask.

Would there be any paper work on his or my end? If so what would be required. After all I'd like every thing to be on the up and up.

Has anyone done this before, and what are the advantages and disadvantages? The flasks seem to only cost about 1/2 of what they cost here but the transportation is VERY high. The upside, from what I can see is that indeed the seedlings look about 2 1/2" tall with good roots.

Last week I received a flask (no sellers name will be given) and it was suppose to have 20 to 25 seedling ready to come out. I'll be deflasking tomorrow, but it looks like maybe 10 to 15 seedlings tops. I didn't and won't complain as I've gotten many nice compots from this individual and they were great. I'm just sort of upset, as the seller knew I hadn't had a lot of luck with flasks.

Any and all coments welcome, especially if you have actually import a couple of flasks for your own use.

Thanks
 
G

gore42

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Bob,

When importing plants into the USA, you'll need a USDA "permit to import plant or plant products regulated by 7 CFR 319.37" (it's free) for the specific plant species that you're importing. It takes a few weeks to get the permit if you mail in your application, but there is an online service which is much faster, once you're authorized.

Don't be fooled by overseas vendors telling you that you don't need any permits if the plants are in flask; you do! You can get a very stiff fine if you don't have all the proper paperwork (CITES is the most important, of course). If you're only importing a few plants, sometimes the inspectors will give you a one-time, oral permit (only the USDA import permit) if you don't have one yet.

Above all else, make sure that the exporter includes CITES paperwork (EVEN FOR FLASKS!!!) If the plants were lab propagated, a vendor can get a certificate of artificial propagation (CITES appendix I plants are then treated as appendix II). Without it, though, you can get a $10,000 fine for each plant that you import. Even if the vendor promises to send the CITES paperwork and then doesn't, you will still get fined (there is no intent clause in the Act, you're responsible whether you are trying to do something illegal or not), so make sure the vendor gives you the permit number (or a copy of the permit) before you accept the parcel from the post-man.

If you'd like to cut down on the per-flask cost by ordering more flasks, some of us might go in on an order with you (assuming that we can get the proper paperwork). I can get the USDA permits in about a week :)

Good luck!

Matt Gore
 
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Bob in Albany N.Y.

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The only document the seller offered to send was the Photo sanitary document. Sounds like this is NOT the way to go. Just take a look on E-bay and you see many flasks being sent to the US from other countries. Just because sellers on E-bay do it, doesn't make it right. Sorry, but this looks like a NO GO.
 
G

gore42

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Yep... and there are plenty of people who get away with it. Usually international boxes that only declare something like "toys" or something common like that will not be opened and searched, but they ARE searched frequently enough that I wouldn't risk it, with the possibility of fines and a criminal record.

- Matt
 
D

DavidH

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Matt,

I understood the CITES requirements to be different from what you are stating. From what I read when I received my permits and online (I've got all of the permits including importing/exporting CITES plants), flasks are exempt from CITES and only require phytosanitary paperwork. If you go to Burleigh Park Orchids (http://www.speciesorchids.com/DidYouKnow.html), Ian has a great summary of US requirements. When I've received flasks only, only the phytosanitary certificate was in the box, and at least one of those boxes was inspected by USDA and sent on to me (they were all paph species).

In the one case where an individual sent plants without the right paperwork, I did receive an empty box with US government papers summarizing what permits are required for the legal import of plants. Needless to say, I won't buy from that person again (but I did get my money back).

You can't go wrong having all the permits (especially the APHIS which Matt mentioned), which is why I applied for all of them (the CITES permit is simply added onto the APHIS permit number which USDA can see when they call up your permit number as the box goes through inspection - but really the CITES permit only benefits those who export from the USA since you can't get the plants into the USA without the originating country providing CITES paperwork certifying them as artifically propogated). I also have stored emails from a lady at FWS who confirmed you do not need CITES for flasks, and I'll be happy to forward them to anyone who'd like to receive a copy.
 
G

gore42

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David,

You're absolutely right. I couldn't have been more wrong! I'm still trying to figure out where my mis-information about flasks came from (my post was accurate for artificially propagated plants that are no longer in flask, though).

I'll just copy and paste here from Title 50:

"...categorically excluded or exempted parts or derivatives of certain plants:...

(5) For Orchidaceae species: in Appendix I, seedling or tissue cultures obtained in vitro, in solid or liquid media, transported in sterile containers; in Appendix II, for artificially propagated Vanilla species, the fruits and their parts and derivatives "


So, my horribly mistaken post above should be completely dismissed. In fact, you may want to ignore all of my past and future posts as well :) How embarassing :eek:

-Matt
 

likespaphs

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then why is it not okay to import flasks of hangianum, helenae and other newly discovered species?
 
G

gore42

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In order for the flasks to be legal to import, the parent plants must have been collected legally (according to the USFW interpretation of CITES). Vietnam has not yet issued any permits for these species to be exported, so any country offering seedlings for export must have bred them from illegal parents, thus making the offspring illegal too.

Many countries don't interpret CITES this way, but the USA does.

For more information about this issue, check out this document:

http://www.cites.org/eng/com/pc/11/E-PC11-24-04.pdf

- Matt Gore
 
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DavidH

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Marco,

the person doing the shipping, not the shipping company, is supposed to provide the paperwork.

Eric,

hybrid flasks still need the phytosanitary paperwork.
 

Stephan

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And here's the "kicker"

How can anyone, expert or otherwise, tell if a flask is populated by the hybrids so well documented on paper or say P. hangianum? :)

I just love bureaucracies, red tape and the public servants who see the whole thing works. Ooops, I'm one of them.

I'll scuttle away now :)

Cheers
Stephan
 

Marco

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**bump**

Has anyone here ever brought flasks over from abroad?

Just entertaining a thought here.

What if I brought a flask...or two...or three with me on a plane, carry on from a foriegn country, granted I have a phyto,will customs here is US be super anal about it? Would the APHIS permit still be necessary? I've brought on a plane processed food in a ratty old jar that my grandma made once and I was never given heat. :poke:
 
G

gore42

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Marco,

If you're asking whether you could get away with it... maybe, especially if you're clever. Would it be legal? Not really. And the APHIS permit is free, so I'd just get one.

- Matt
 
G

gore42

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Actually, the bigger problem would be getting those things in your carry on onto the plane... unless they have really relaxed those new "NO liquids on the plane" rules.

- Matt
 

Marco

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Matt - Not get away with it. :poke: Granted that the plants are legal here in the US. Like paph. philippinense. :) I don't wanna risk a hefty fine and with the possibility of jail time.

Actually, the bigger problem would be getting those things in your carry on onto the plane... unless they have really relaxed those new "NO liquids on the plane" rules.
yeah thats another thing i was wondering about. especially if the flasks are glass. they may bug out and say something like "you can break that and cut people with it"
 

Jon in SW Ohio

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That no liquids on a plane thing sure did make the price of already expensive corals jump. Not so easy to sneak a few bags out of Japan now a days. Of course the illegal ones are always the nicest looking ones.

For example, this Micromussa. Probably 2 inches across and about $5000 worth of Japanese beauty. My tank looks so empty without it :poke:


Jon
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