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Own Use Import (OUI) Program

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NAFTA TWG Key Documents

Background/Relationship of the U.S. OUI Program and the NAFTA Label

"Own Use Imports" refers to the practice by growers who use pesticides, to bring pesticides into the United States for their own purposes but not to sell or resell the pesticides. The OUI program was created as a short-term process to allow for such imports, until a better and long-term process could be started.

The NAFTA Label Work Group developed both a short-term and a long-term strategy for addressing the issue of cross-border movement of pesticides.  The NAFTA label is the long-term strategy.  But until NAFTA labels are fully implemented, the work group developed the OUI program for U.S. growers who need to use the pesticides in the meantime.   The expectation is that, as NAFTA labels are developed, the need for the OUI program will diminish.

Pesticide products with NAFTA labels will be able to move freely across the border, subject to U.S. and Canadian customs requirements.  The U.S. OUI Program, on the other hand, involves extra steps such as re-labeling certain Canadian pesticide products with U.S. labels.  This can only be done at EPA-registered establishments, that is, Canadian retailers/distributors that either:

In December 2006 a trial import of one bag of triallate was conducted under this program to identify any remaining issues.  Several issues, mainly surrounding U.S. Customs regulations, were identified and are being addressed.  A pilot program began in the spring of 2007.

How the U.S. OUI Program Works

The U.S. OUI program is intended to be an interim program.  It allows the import into the United States of selected Canadian pesticide products that have been re-labeled with the U.S. labels of a substantially similar U.S. product (modified with OUI language).  It is a complicated program due to certain requirements of U.S. law and regulation.  Principal among these is that EPA considers labeling and re-labeling of pesticide products to be "production" that must occur at an EPA-registered establishment.

Thus, in the proposed U.S. OUI Program:

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Ensuring Own Use

The most contentious issue surrounding the development of this interim program was how to ensure that purchases would, in fact, be for the purchaser’s own use.  All stakeholder groups wanted to avoid the creation of a large program that lacked elements of the usual product stewardship and that might result in the creation of an alternate distribution system. Thus, registrants, growers, and distributors and retailers all agreed that the program would only be viable if there was a way to ensure that product purchased by a grower through the program was strictly for the grower’s own use.  

There is also the understanding that if, despite the safeguards that were agreed to, there is evidence of resale, barter, or trade of these products in the United States, this would likely result in the end of the program because key stakeholders, e.g., the registrants and distributors and retailers, would no longer provide labels or product for import in the program. 

Thus, it is critically important for all prospective users of the program to understand the provision that purchase of these products is intended strictly for the purchaser’s own use.  The OUI labels state that anyone who has these re-labeled Canadian products in his possession should also have in his possession the Notice of Arrival (NOA) form used to bring them into the United States that shows his name as the purchaser and his farm as the location of the product's use.

If product is found in the possession of a grower or being used by a grower who does not have a corresponding NOA with his name as the importer and his farm as the location of the product, this will be taken as evidence of resale, barter, or trade, which may result in products being pulled from the program and/or the end of the program.

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Products in the U.S. OUI Program and Where They Are Available for Sale in Canada

Syngenta volunteered three products for the pilot import program for Spring 2007. All of these products are from the U.S. growers' priority list.  One product, Discover in the United States and Horizon in Canada (clodinafop-propargyl), was determined by the EPA to be not substantially similar in the United States and Canada and, therefore, could not be included in the program. 

Products in the pilot import program for spring 2007 are:

These products are available only at the following location:

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Information for Registrants Interested in Participating in the U.S. OUI Program

Only those chemicals on the U.S. growers’ priority list (PDF) (3 p, 161K, About PDF) are eligible for consideration for inclusion in the U.S. OUI program. Registrants with products on this list who are interested in participating in the U.S. OUI program should review the information on this Web site, and in particular the section, "How the U.S. OUI Program Works." Contact Diane Isbell (Isbell.diane@epa.gov) for more information at 703-308-8154.

Relatively few Canadian retailers are currently participating in the program.  Therefore, it might be wise to begin this exercise early in the process.  Canadian retailers who agree to participate in this program must register as EPA establishments and obtain an EPA Establishment Number.  In addition, the retailer must file an annual production report with EPA (showing the amount of product that has been re-labeled) to stay in compliance and included in the U.S. OUI process.  Registrants are familiar with the process of obtaining an EPA Establishment Number and may assist the Canadian retailers.  In addition, information on this process may be found at: www.epa.gov/compliance/monitoring/programs/fifra/establishments.html#registering.

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