International commerce in live organisms presents a policy challenge for trade globalization; sales of live organisms create wealth, but some nonindigenous species cause harm. To reduce damage, some countries have implemented species screening to limit the introduction of damaging species. Adoption of new risk assessment (RA) technologies has been slowed, however, by concerns that RA accuracy remains insufficient to produce positive net economic benefits. This concern arises because only a small proportion of all introduced species escape, spread, and cause harm (i.e., become invasive), so a RA will exclude many noninvasive species (which provide a net economic benefit) for every invasive species correctly identified. Here, we develop a simple cost:benefit bioeconomic framework to quantify the net benefits from applying species prescreening. Because invasive species are rarely eradicated, and their damages must therefore be borne for long periods, we have projected the value of RA over a suitable range of policy time horizons (10-500 years). We apply the model to the Australian plant quarantine program and show that this RA program produces positive net economic benefits over the range of reasonable assumptions. Because we use low estimates of the financial damage caused by invasive species and high estimates of the value of species in the ornamental trade, our results underestimate the net benefit of the Australian plant quarantine program. In addition, because plants have relatively low rates of invasion, applying screening protocols to animals would likely demonstrate even greater benefits.