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Administrator Johnson, Import Safety Working Group Public Meeting, Washington, D.C.

Thank you.

I’m pleased to join you to discuss how we can develop smarter, more comprehensive solutions to import safety. And I appreciate Secretary Leavitt for convening today’s meeting.

Just last month, Secretary Leavitt invited me, along with the FDA Commissioner, to tour the Project Seahawk facility in Charleston, South Carolina. I had an opportunity to see first-hand how we are screening the agriculture products coming into the U.S. I want to thank Secretary Leavitt for leading our efforts to improve America’s import safeguards to meet the changing demands of a global economy.

Our country’s imports must be both safe for U.S. consumers and comply with our tough environmental standards.

Preventing and reducing the risks of illegal imports is important to EPA, and we are ensuring the safety of our imports through several ways.

In collaborating with our federal partners, EPA sets health-based standards for pesticides, while USDA and FDA conduct inspections to certify that our standards are met.

EPA also works closely with U.S. law enforcement agencies. We provide high quality training and information so inspectors can confirm imported products meet our environmental standards.

Through this collaboration with our federal partners we are sending a clear message: America will not tolerate the importation of harmful foods or products.

EPA is also cooperating with America’s trading partners. We are working with foreign governments, informing them of our environmental requirements and helping strengthen their capacity to comply with U.S. standards.

And EPA is working with our industry partners, helping them prevent problems before they occur. These smart decisions allow businesses to do what’s good for the environment, good for American consumers, and also good for their bottom lines.

And we are considering new actions that would strengthen import safety. Through a comprehensive life cycle approach, environmental protections could be integrated into the design and manufacture of imported products, as well as, into the shipping and retail of those products. We expect to announce our recommendations in November.

By sharing our expertise now, EPA is helping prevent problems in the future. Together, we are ensuring America’s imports are both safe and comply with our environmental standards.

Once again, I appreciate the invitation to speak with you today, and I look forward to our continued, productive work together.