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.
“Christmas trees add sparkle to the holiday season but they can also be infected with hidden pests capable of severely damaging our natural resources and domestic economy,” said Charles Cunningham, Chief Customs and Border Protection Agriculture Specialist in Blaine, Washington. “Our best advice to anyone wishing to import their Christmas tree is to first speak with a CBP agriculture specialist at 360-332-1640 (Blaine, Washington) or 360-988-2971 (Sumas, Washington) for details.” Importations of Christmas trees grown outside of British Columbia or destined to other areas of the US 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.