Blaine, Wash. - With the Christmas holiday fast approaching, U.S. Customs and Border Protection agriculture specialists working at U.S. ports of entry are busy making sure that imported Christmas trees are free from insects and pests that could harm trees in America's national forests and neighborhood backyards.
Importing a Christmas tree from British Columbia into Washington State now requires certification from the grower that their holiday tree was grown in an area of Canada where gypsy moth and pine shoot beetle are not known to occur. Without such certification the holiday tree may be prohibited and the travelers must return their tree back to Canada. A holiday tree of any type that is found to be harboring harmful insects must also be returned to Canada.
"Although your Christmas trees may appear to be harmless, there could be hidden threats that could seriously harm our natural resources and economy," said Chief Charles Cunningham, Customs and Border Protection agriculture specialist in Blaine, Wash. "Our best advice to anyone wondering if they may import their Christmas tree is to please speak with a CBP agriculture specialist at (360) 332-1640 (Blaine, Wash.) or (360) 988-2971 (Sumas, Wash.) for details." Importations of Christmas trees grown outside of British Columbia or destined to other areas of the U.S. are subject to additional regulations.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation's borders at and between the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.