|FROM ||Ruben Safir
|SUBJECT ||Subject: [Hangout - NYLXS] =?utf-8?q?n_recent_months=2C_thousands_of_peop?=
|tell me why we trade with China and pretend it is a a normal state?
Amazon Bans Foreign Plant Sales to U.S. Amid Global Seed Mystery
Shift by the e-commerce giant comes as agricultural authorities
investigate the delivery of thousands of packets of seeds
Seeds that appeared to have been mailed from China to U.S. postal
addresses were displayed at the Washington State Department of
Agriculture in July.
Updated Sept. 5, 2020 3:52 pm ET
Amazon.com Inc. AMZN -2.18% is barring foreign sales of seeds into the
U.S. after thousands of suspicious packets, many postmarked from China,
arrived at households around the world this summer.
The move by Amazon comes as the mystery seeds led U.S. officials to
raise alarms about the ease with which seed sales can occur on
e-commerce sites, creating potential threats to U.S. agriculture.
Amazon informed foreign sellers that, effective Sept. 3, it would no
longer allow the import of plant or seed products, according to an email
viewed by The Wall Street Journal. The email said some overseas sellers
would have their offers removed from Amazon the same day.
Amazon also updated its public rulebook to reflect the new policy,
saying that importing seeds into the U.S., or the sale of seeds within
the U.S. by non-U.S. residents, is prohibited.
History of the Mystery
I Received Packets of Mystery Seeds Postmarked From China Aug. 14)
Mystery Seeds Spread Around the World (July 30)
‘Brushers’ Come Into Focus as Officials Test Packages of Mysterious
Seeds (July 30)
On Saturday, a merchant based in East Asia who sells Chinese seeds to
Amazon customers in the U.S. said that his product had been removed by
In its email to foreign seed sellers informing them of its new policy,
Amazon said the action was “part of our ongoing efforts to protect our
customers and enhance the customer experience.”
A spokesperson for the company said Saturday in a statement: “Moving
forward, we are only permitting the sale of seeds by sellers who are
based in the U.S.” Sellers who don’t follow the company’s guidelines
will be subject to action, including potential removal of their account,
the spokesperson said.
The policy change comes as multiple agencies, including the U.S.
Agriculture Department, U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Customs
and Border Protection, U.S. Postal Service and state departments of
agriculture, are investigating the mysterious seed shipments.
In recent months, thousands of people around the U.S. received in the
mail seeds they didn’t order. Most were postmarked from China, and the
shipments were often marked as jewelry, toys or other goods. Canada and
the U.K. have been among other countries experiencing the same phenomenon.
U.S. agriculture officials have said they are working with officials in
China to determine who is sending the seed packages and to stop future
shipments. China’s Foreign Ministry said in July that mailing labels on
the seed packages were forged and that China had asked the U.S. to send
packages for investigation.
The USDA says it has worked with e-commerce companies for years to
ensure they include information about USDA regulations on their sites
and to remove sellers that illegally shipped agricultural material,
including seeds. Since the mysterious mailings, however, the USDA says
it has ramped up this work.
“E-commerce has presented us with a unique challenge,” Osama El-Lissy, a
deputy administrator for the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection
Service, said in an interview on Wednesday. “These sellers must meet the
U.S.’s regulatory requirements.”
Agriculture officials have been concerned the seeds could introduce
invasive species, weeds, pests or diseases that might harm U.S.
agriculture. On Wednesday, Mr. El-Lissy said the USDA had received
nearly 20,000 reports from seed recipients and collected some 9,000
packages. The USDA has so far assessed more than 2,500 of those
packages, he said.
Mr. El-Lissy said the USDA has identified several seeds of noxious
weeds, called dodder and water spinach. The agency has also found
diseases known to occur in China, called pospiviroid and spindle tuber
viroid, in seeds, as well as a few pests of significance: an immature
wasp and a larval seed beetle.
As it collects the seed packages, sent to people across all 50 states,
the USDA has been routing them to botanists, who are examining the seeds
to determine their species and whether any are on a federal list of
noxious weeds, which are potentially harmful. Seeds may then be sent to
a Maryland laboratory for DNA testing to determine whether they carry
pathogens that can cause plant diseases.
Mr. El-Lissy said the findings to date haven’t sparked significant
concern, or necessitated the enactment of a federal emergency-response
plan. Still, he said, the USDA is very concerned about the potential
that one or more of the seed packages could contain a threat to U.S.
agriculture. The agency can take steps to increase pest surveillance and
prepare to respond quickly should it detect something in an agricultural
region or the environment, Mr. El-Lissy said.
Authorities say the exact purpose of sending the unsolicited seed
packages remains unclear but that a leading explanation is that they are
part of a “brushing scam.” In these scams vendors selling through online
retailers like Amazon pay “brushers” to place orders for their products,
shipping packages with low-value or no contents to strangers. Brushers
then pose as the buyers and post fake customer reviews to boost the
vendor’s sales, sometimes posting the reviews to other products.
Amazon reiterated its view Saturday that seed deliveries linked to its
site were genuine orders delayed due to Covid-19 and not incidents of
brushing. The company has been investigating any connection the platform
might have to the packages and whether brushing is involved.
In addition to being useful in brushing, seeds are also highly lucrative
as a genuine e-commerce product, according to sellers based in China and
elsewhere in Asia. High margins make the seed business attractive to
foreign sellers, as a seed packet that costs $1.50 to buy from Chinese
suppliers can retail for around $10 on Amazon, one seller said. Shipping
fees are negligible on the ultralight packages.
Amazon’s removal of seed offers is to take place in stages, per the
Sept. 3 email to foreign seed sellers. Foreign merchants who ship their
seeds directly to U.S. customers will have their offers removed
immediately. Those who rely on Amazon to fulfill their orders—and have
inventory stored in Amazon warehouses—will have their offers removed
starting Sept. 30, according to the email.
Write to Jon Emont at jonathan.emont-at-wsj.com and Jesse Newman at
So many immigrant groups have swept through our town
that Brooklyn, like Atlantis, reaches mythological
proportions in the mind of the world - RI Safir 1998
DRM is THEFT - We are the STAKEHOLDERS - RI Safir 2002
http://www.nylxs.com - Leadership Development in Free Software
Being so tracked is for FARM ANIMALS and extermination camps,
but incompatible with living as a free human being. -RI Safir 2013
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