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Re: Tropica exporting to USA
This is a very interesting thread. Many US aquarists have for many years
been frustrated about not having access to Tropica's high-quality plants.
In 1997 I worked with Claus of Tropica in order to get the USDA to change
its rules or make an exception for Tropica. I thought some of you may be
interested in what I found.
The rules regarding the importation of plants clearly do not allow plants
that have their roots wrapped or covered in something that would prevent
easy inspection. This is THE sticking point with the USDA.
Tropica achieves its high-quality standards in part through the use of
rockwool. It provides an excellent medium for plant roots. As a result,
all of Tropica's plants "grow-out" in it. It would be economically
prohibitive for Tropica to assign workers to carefully remove the rockwool
from the plants prior to exportation to the US.
What Claus was attempting to do is qualify the Tropica nursery for a special
certification (phyto-somthing or other) that would pre-approve Tropica
plants for shipment to the US even though the roots were not visible. This
is done by meeting many sanitary requirements and passing many very
complicated tests. As I recall, even though Tropica is a state-of-the-art
facility, they still needed to make some changes in how they did things.
Moreover, this special certificate was given on a species-by-species basis.
Therefore, Tropica would need to meet these requirements for each one of the
species it intended to send to the US. This would result in a large expense
In the end, the USDA really made it very difficult for Tropica to meet its
requirements without a VERY large outlay of capital. So, considering this
expense, plus the fact that they would then compete against all of the US
aquatic plant farmers, the profitability of selling to the US would be
suspect at best.
Frankly, from a business point of view, I agree with Tropica's decision not
to export to the US. Currently, the expense is too high and the market too
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