[Federal Register Volume 73, Number 96 (Friday, May 16, 2008)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 28377-28382]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E8-10923]


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DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service

7 CFR Part 319

[Docket No. APHIS-2008-0017]
RIN 0579-AC77


Importation of Tomatoes From Souss-Massa, Morocco

AGENCY: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, USDA.

ACTION: Proposed rule.

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SUMMARY: We are proposing to allow the importation of commercial 
consignments of tomatoes from the Souss-Massa region of Morocco subject 
to a systems approach similar to that which is already in place for 
tomatoes imported into the United States from other areas of Morocco. 
The tomatoes would have to be produced under conditions that would 
include requirements for pest exclusion at the production site, fruit 
fly trapping inside the production site, and pest-exclusionary 
packinghouse procedures. The tomatoes would also be required to be 
accompanied by a phytosanitary certificate issued by the Moroccan 
national plant protection organization with an additional declaration 
stating that the tomatoes have been grown in registered greenhouses in 
the Souss-Massa region and were 60 percent or less pink at the time of 
packing. This action would allow for the importation of commercial 
consignments of tomatoes from the Souss-Massa region of Morocco into 
the United States while continuing to provide protection against the 
introduction of quarantine pests.

DATES: We will consider all comments that we receive on or before July 
15, 2008.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments by either of the following methods:
    Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to http://www.regulations.gov/
fdmspublic/component/

[[Page 28378]]

main?main=DocketDetail&d=APHIS-2008-0017 to submit or view comments and 
to view supporting and related materials available electronically.
    Postal Mail/Commercial Delivery: Please send two copies of your 
comment to Docket No. APHIS-2008-0017, Regulatory Analysis and 
Development, PPD, APHIS, Station 3A-03.8, 4700 River Road Unit 118, 
Riverdale, MD 20737-1238. Please state that your comment refers to 
Docket No. APHIS-2008-0017.
    Reading Room: You may read any comments that we receive on this 
docket in our reading room. The reading room is located in room 1141 of 
the USDA South Building, 14th Street and Independence Avenue, SW., 
Washington, DC. Normal reading room hours are 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., 
Monday through Friday, except holidays. To be sure someone is there to 
help you, please call (202) 690-2817 before coming.
    Other Information: Additional information about APHIS and its 
programs is available on the Internet at http://www.aphis.usda.gov.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ms. Sharon Porsche, Import Specialist, 
Commodity Import Analysis and Operations, Plant Health Programs, PPQ, 
APHIS, 4700 River Road Unit 133, Riverdale, MD 20737-1231; (301) 734-
8758.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

    The regulations in ``Subpart--Fruits and Vegetables'' (7 CFR 
319.56-1 through 319.56-47, referred to below as the regulations) 
prohibit or restrict the importation of fruits and vegetables into the 
United States from certain parts of the world to prevent the 
introduction and dissemination of plant pests that are new to or not 
widely distributed within the United States.
    Currently, the regulations in Sec.  319.56-28(c) authorize the 
importation of pink tomatoes from the provinces of El Jadida and Safi 
in Morocco and the province of Dahkla in Western Sahara into the United 
States subject to a systems approach. This systems approach requires 
tomato production in an area of low prevalence and production in a 
pest-free growing structure to mitigate Mediterranean fruit fly 
(Medfly, Ceratitis capitata).
    The Moroccan Ministry of Agriculture, Division of Plant Protection, 
Inspection, and Enforcement (DPVCTRF), has requested that the Animal 
and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) amend the regulations to 
allow tomatoes (Lycopersicon esculentum L.) to be imported from the 
Souss-Massa region of Morocco into the United States. As part of our 
evaluation of Morocco's request, we prepared a commodity import 
evaluation document (CIED). Copies of the CIED may be obtained from the 
person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT or viewed on the 
Regulations.gov Web site (see ADDRESSES above for instruction for 
accessing Regulations.gov).
    We prepared a CIED for this action rather than a pest risk analysis 
because the pest risks associated with importing tomatoes from other 
regions of Morocco have been previously determined through the pest 
risk analysis prepared to support the rulemaking that led to the 
establishment of the existing systems approach referred to above under 
which tomatoes may be imported from elsewhere in Morocco and Western 
Sahara. We expect that a comparable systems approach can be used 
successfully for the proposed production area in Souss-Massa; however, 
because the Souss-Massa region is not a low prevalence area for Medfly, 
we have determined that additional measures would be necessary to 
mitigate the risks posed by the Medfly. Therefore, the systems approach 
we would use for tomatoes from the Souss-Massa region would include 
requirements regarding the absence or treatment of shade trees within a 
specified distance of greenhouses and packinghouses and an increased 
the number of traps per hectare within the greenhouses.
    As is currently in place for tomatoes from El Jadida or Safi in 
Morocco and for the province of Dahkla in Western Sahara, we would 
require that tomatoes from the Souss-Massa region of Morocco be grown 
in insect-proof greenhouses registered with, and inspected by, DPVCTRF, 
and approved by APHIS. The tomatoes would only be allowed to be shipped 
from the Souss-Massa region of Morocco between December 1 and April 30, 
inclusive.
    Beginning 2 months prior to the start of the shipping season and 
continuing through the end of the shipping season, DPVCTRF would be 
required to set and maintain Medfly traps baited with trimedlure, or 
other approved protein bait, inside the registered greenhouses at a 
rate of eight traps per hectare, with a minimum of four traps in each 
greenhouse. All traps would have to be checked every 7 days. We propose 
to require DPVCTRF to maintain records of trap placement, checking of 
traps, and any Medfly captures, and to make the records available to 
APHIS upon request. The trapping records would have to be maintained 
for 1 year for APHIS review.
    Capture of a single Medfly in a registered greenhouse during the 
period beginning 2 months prior to export and continuing through the 
duration of the harvest, or detection of a Medfly in a consignment 
which is traced back to a registered greenhouse, would immediately 
result in cancellation of exports to the United States from that 
registered greenhouse until the source of the infestation is 
determined, the Medfly infestation has been eradicated, and measures 
are taken to preclude any future infestation. Exports would not be 
reinstated until APHIS and DPVCTRF mutually determine that the risk has 
been properly mitigated.
    Packing would have to occur in a pest-exclusionary packinghouse. 
During the time the packinghouse is in use for exporting fruit to the 
United States, the packinghouse would only be able to accept fruit from 
registered production sites. The tomatoes would have to be pink at the 
time of packing,\1\ be packed within 24 hours of harvest, and would 
have to be safeguarded by fruit fly-proof mesh screen or plastic 
tarpaulin while in transit to the packinghouse and while awaiting 
packing. In addition, the tomatoes would have to be packed in fruit 
fly-proof containers or covered by an insect-proof mesh or plastic 
tarpaulin for transit to the ship or airport and subsequent shipping to 
the United States. These safeguards would have to be intact upon 
arrival to the United States. For sea shipments, containers would have 
to be kept closed if stored within 20 meters of Medfly host materials 
prior to loading.
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    \1\ The surface area of a pink tomato is more than 30 percent 
but not more than 60 percent pink and/or red.
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    In order to reduce the pest pressure of Medfly outside the 
greenhouse and packinghouse, no shade trees would be permitted within 
10 meters of the entry door of the greenhouse or packinghouse, and no 
fruit fly host material would be permitted within 50 meters of the 
entry door of the greenhouse. Ground applications of an approved 
protein bait spray pesticide for Medfly would have to be used on all 
shade trees and host plants within 200 meters of the greenhouses every 
6 to 10 days starting at least 30 days before harvest and continuing 
through the end of the harvest.
    DPVCTRF would be responsible for export certification inspection 
and issuance of phytosanitary certificates. We propose to require each 
shipment of pink tomatoes to be accompanied by a phytosanitary 
certificate issued by

[[Page 28379]]

DPVCTRF and bearing the declaration, ``These tomatoes were grown in 
registered greenhouses in the Souss-Massa region and were pink at the 
time of packing.''
    We are proposing to add these requirements to Sec.  319.56-28 as a 
new paragraph (g). We would also amend the introductory text of 
paragraph (c) of that section in order to make it more clear that the 
provisions in that paragraph apply only to the El Jadida and Safi 
provinces in Morocco and the province of Dahkla in Western Sahara 
rather than to all of Morocco and Western Sahara.

Executive Order 12866 and Regulatory Flexibility Act

    This rule has been reviewed under Executive Order 12866. The rule 
has been determined to be not significant for the purposes of Executive 
Order 12866 and, therefore, has not been reviewed by the Office of 
Management and Budget.
    We are proposing to allow the importation of commercial shipments 
of tomatoes from the Souss-Massa region of Morocco subject to a systems 
approach similar to that which is already in place for tomatoes 
imported into the United States from other areas of Morocco. The 
systems approach would include requirements for pest exclusion at the 
production site, fruit fly trapping inside the production site, and 
pest-exclusionary packinghouse procedures. The tomatoes would also be 
required to be accompanied by a phytosanitary certificate issued by the 
Moroccan national plant protection organization with an additional 
declaration stating that the tomatoes have been grown in registered 
greenhouses in the Souss-Massa region and were 60 percent or less pink 
at the time of packing. This action would allow for the importation of 
commercial consignments of tomatoes from the Souss-Massa region of 
Morocco into the United States while continuing to provide protection 
against the introduction of quarantine pests.

U.S. Tomato Production and Trade

    The United States is a major tomato producer and importer. The 
United States produced 1,858,886 metric tons (MT) of fresh tomatoes 
valued at $1.6 billion in 2006, while imports that year totaled 992,334 
MT. Tomato production occurs in many States. The top 10 States 
(Florida, California, Virginia, Georgia, Ohio, Tennessee, North 
Carolina, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Michigan) accounted for 95 
percent of total cash receipts in 2006.\2\ According to the 2002 Census 
of Agriculture (most recent data on farm sizes), there were 19,539 
farms producing tomatoes in the United States. About 59 percent of 
these farms had less than 1 acre in tomatoes. Overall, 19,067 farms (or 
97.6 percent) had a total of 95,145 acres planted in tomatoes (about 
21.2 percent of the total planted area). They are considered small, 
averaging about 5 acres and with an average annual income of about 
$21,500 in 2002. The remaining 2.4 percent of the farms planted a total 
of 353,355 acres in tomatoes. They averaged 749 acres, with an average 
annual income of about $3,227,700.\3\
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    \2\ USDA/ERS, Vegetables and Melons Situation and Outlook 
Yearbook/VGS-2007/July 26, 2007.
    \3\ USDA/NASS, 2002 Census of Agriculture, United States Data, 
p. 35.
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    As shown in table 1, U.S. tomato production has fluctuated over 
recent years, while there has been an upward trend in consumption. The 
most recent data show production was 1,945,614 MT in 2002, and declined 
to 1,858,886 MT in 2006, an annual rate of decline of about 1 percent. 
On the other hand, consumption increased over this same period, from 
2,654,359 MT to 2,707,022 MT, and U.S. imports increased from 859,521 
MT to 992,334 MT. Mexico is the source of the largest share of imports 
(85 percent in 2006), followed distantly by Canada (13.6 percent). 
Other minor suppliers include the Netherlands, Spain, Dominican 
Republic, Belgium, Israel, Italy, Costa Rica, Poland, and Guatemala. 
The United States was a net importer throughout the period 2002 to 2006 
with average annual imports (over 934,950 MT) dwarfing exports (less 
than 150,620 MT). Imports represent 35 percent of consumption. Imports 
from Morocco are expected to be small compared to an already large 
import base.

              Table 1.--U.S. Tomato Production, Consumption, Price, Exports and Imports, 2002-2006
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                                                  Production  Consumption
                      Year                        in metric    in metric    Price per    Exports in   Imports in
                                                     tons         tons      metric ton  metric tons  metric tons
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2002...........................................    1,945,614    2,654,359         $925      150,730      859,521
2003...........................................    1,773,474    2,570,398        1,144      142,520      939,444
2004...........................................    1,896,670    2,660,936        1,131      167,513      931,779
2005...........................................    1,914,360    2,717,953        1,129      148,099      951,692
2006...........................................    1,858,886    2,707,022        1,243      144,198      992,334
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    5-year average (2002-2006).................    1,877,800    2,662,134        1,114      150,612     934,954
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Source: USDA/ERS, Vegetables and Melons Situation and Outlook Yearbook/VGS-2007/July 26, 2007.

Morocco Tomato Production and Trade

    Production of tomatoes in Morocco increased from 991,020 MT in 2002 
to 1,245,000 MT in 2006. Of this total, greenhouse tomatoes, which are 
candidates for export to the United States, represented about 47.6 
percent. Of the greenhouse total, 74 percent are produced in the Souss-
Massa region.\4\ Over this same period, exports fluctuated widely, 
ranging between 200,460 MT in 2002 and 248,740 MT in 2006, with a 
significantly lower level of 107,370 MT exported in 2004. The average 
quantity of tomatoes exported by Morocco during the period was 161,190 
MT.
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    \4\ Christine Chemnitz and Harald Grethe, ``EU Trade Preference 
for Moroccan Tomato Exports--Who Benefits?'' Paper prepared for 
presentation at the 99th seminar of the European Association of 
Agricultural Economics (EAAE), ``The Future of Rural Europe in the 
Global Agri-Food system,'' 23-27 August 2005, Copenhagen.
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    Most of the 248,740 MT exported by Morocco in 2006 went to European 
Union (EU) countries (218,892 MT), especially France, which received 
about 86 percent of the EU share. France and Morocco have a long 
history of bilateral trade that is likely to continue to be strong. 
Exports to other EU countries accounted for about 14 percent of 
Morocco's total tomato trade. Non-EU countries accounted for 12 percent 
of the total, with Russia (20,759 MT) and Switzerland (8,989 MT) major 
importers.
    Trade records show that an average of 91 MT of tomatoes, valued at 
$209,000, was imported annually by the United States from Morocco 
between 1998 and

[[Page 28380]]

2001. The United States has not imported tomatoes from Morocco since 
2001. Although the Souss-Massa region is a major tomato-producing area 
of Morocco, the record of U.S. imports suggests that only a small 
amount may be expected to be imported from this region.

Impact of Potential Fresh Tomato Imports

    We estimate the impact of tomato imports from Morocco on U.S. 
production, consumption, and prices using a net trade welfare model. 
The data used were obtained from the Food Agricultural Organization 
(FAO) and the Global Trade Atlas.\5\ The demand and supply elasticities 
used are -0.62 and 0.37, respectively.\6\
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    \5\ UN/FAO, FAO statistical data (http://faostat.fao.org) and 
Global Trade Information Services, Inc., country edition, August 
2007.
    \6\ The demand elasticity is from K. Huang, ``A complete system 
of U.S. demand for food,'' Technical Bulletin No. 182, 1993, USDA/
ERS, Washington, DC, and the supply elasticity is from S.R. Hammig 
and R.C. Mettelhammer, ``An evaluation of import tariffs in the 
Canada-U.S. fresh tomato market,'' Canadian Journal of Agricultural 
Economics, Vol. 30 (1982): 133-152.
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    We model three levels of tomato exports to the United States from 
Morocco of increasing magnitude: (i) 100 MT, roughly equivalent to 
average annual U.S. imports of tomato from Morocco, 1998-2001; (ii) 10 
times this amount (1,000 MT); and (iii) 100 times historic imports 
(10,000 MT).
    Table 2 presents the changes we estimate could result from the 
assumed levels of U.S. tomato imports from Morocco. These include 
annual changes in U.S. consumption, production, wholesale price, 
consumer welfare, producer welfare, and net welfare. The medium level 
of assumed tomato exports to the United States of 1,000 MT could result 
in a decline of 49 cents per MT in the wholesale price of tomatoes and 
a fall in U.S. production of 279 MT. Consumption could increase by 721 
MT. Producer welfare could decline by $840,000 and consumer welfare 
could increase by $1.3 million, yielding an annual net benefit of about 
$455,000.

    Table 2.--Estimated Impact on the U.S. Economy of Tomato Imports From Morocco for Three Import Scenarios
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Assumed annual tomato imports from Morocco, MT..................         \1\ 100       \2\ 1,000      \3\ 10,000
Change in U.S. consumption, MT..................................              72             721           7,209
Change in U.S. production, MT...................................             -28            -279          -2,791
Change in wholesale price of tomatoes, dollars per MT...........          -$0.05          -$0.49          -$4.87
Change in consumer welfare......................................        $129,530      $1,295,440     $12,970,190
Change in producer welfare......................................        -$84,040       -$840,300     -$8,396,870
Annual net benefit..............................................         $45,490        $455,140     $4,573,320
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Note: The baseline data used are 5-year annual averages for production, consumption, prices, exports and
  imports, as reported in the last row of table 1. The demand and supply elasticities used are -0.62 and 0.37,
  respectively (see footnote 5 above).
\1\ Four-year (1998 to 2001) average annual tomato exports by Morocco to the United States. Morocco has not
  exported tomatoes to the United States since 2001.
\2\ Ten times the average fresh tomato exports to the United States from Morocco, 1998-2001.
\3\ One hundred times the average fresh tomato exports to the United States from Morocco, 1998-2001.

    In all three scenarios, consumer welfare gains outweigh producer 
welfare losses. Even in the third scenario in which we assume imports 
would be 100 times the level of past imports from Morocco, the decline 
in producer welfare would represent less than six-tenths of 1 percent 
of cash receipts received from the sale of domestically produced fresh 
tomatoes. The price decline in this third scenario also would be only 
about five-tenths of 1 percent. We welcome public comment that may help 
us to better understand possible effects of the rule on U.S. fresh 
tomato producers.
    The Small Business Administration (SBA) has established guidelines 
for determining which firms are to be considered small under the 
Regulatory Flexibility Act. This rule could affect U.S. producers of 
fresh tomatoes (classified under Other Vegetable except Potato) and 
Melon Farming, North American Industry Classification System 111219) 
and some importers of fresh tomatoes. Vegetable-producing 
establishments are classified as small if their annual receipts are not 
more than $750,000.\7\ According to the 2002 Census of Agriculture 
(most recent data on farm sizes), there were 19,539 farms producing 
tomatoes in the United States. About 59 percent of these farms had less 
than 1 acre in tomatoes. Overall, 19,067 farms (or 97.6 percent) had a 
total of 95,145 acres in tomatoes (about 21.2 percent of the total 
planted area) and are considered small, with an average of about 5 
acres and an average annual income of about $21,500 in 2002. The 
remaining 2.4 percent farms planted a total of 353,355 acres in 
tomatoes (78.8 percent of the planted area). They averaged 749 acres, 
with an average annual income of about $3,227,700.
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    \7\ SBA, small business size standards matched to the North 
American Industry Classification System 2002, Effective October, 
2007 (http://www.sba.gov/size/sizetable2002.html).
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    As shown in table 3, the impact of potential tomato imports on U.S. 
small-entity producers as a result of this rule would be small. The 
annual decrease in producer welfare per small entity is less than $94, 
or about 0.43 percent of average annual sales by small entities, when 
we assume that 10,000 MT of tomatoes would be exported to the United 
States from Morocco because of this rule, that is, 100 times the level 
of past imports from Morocco. The dollar decrease in welfare for most 
small tomato producers would be even smaller, given that the majority 
planted less than one acre in tomatoes, based on the 2002 Census of 
Agriculture.

 Table 3.--The Economic Impact of Potential Tomato Imports From Morocco
on U.S. Small Entities, Assuming Annual Exports of 10,000 Metric Tons to
                     the United States, 2006 Dollars
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Total decline in producer welfare \1\...................     -$8,396,870
Decrease in welfare incurred by small entities \2\......     -$1,780,140
Average decrease per acre, small entities \3\...........         -$18.70
Average decrease per small entity \4\...................         -$93.60
Average decrease as percentage of average sales, small           -0.43%
 entities \5\...........................................
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\1\ From table 2.
\2\ Change in producer welfare multiplied by 21.2 percent, the
  percentage of total acreage planted by producers with annual revenues
  of not more than $750,000, that is, small entities. We assume that the
  change in producer welfare would be proportional to acreage share.

[[Page 28381]]

 
\3\ Decrease in producer welfare for small entities divided by 95,145,
  the number of acres planted by small entities.
\4\ Average decrease per acre multiplied by 5, the average number of
  acres per small entity.
\5\ Average decrease per small entity divided by $21,500, the average
  annual revenue per small entity.

    Under these circumstances, the Administrator of the Animal and 
Plant Health Inspection Service has determined that this action would 
not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small 
entities.

Executive Order 12988

    This proposed rule would allow tomatoes to be imported into the 
United States from the Souss-Massa region of Morocco. If this proposed 
rule is adopted, State and local laws and regulations regarding 
tomatoes imported under this rule would be preempted while the fruit is 
in foreign commerce. Fresh fruits are generally imported for immediate 
distribution and sale to the consuming public and would remain in 
foreign commerce until sold to the ultimate consumer. The question of 
when foreign commerce ceases in other cases must be addressed on a 
case-by-case basis. If this proposed rule is adopted, no retroactive 
effect will be given to this rule, and this rule will not require 
administrative proceedings before parties may file suit in court 
challenging this rule.

Paperwork Reduction Act

    In accordance with section 3507(d) of the Paperwork Reduction Act 
of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.), the information collection or 
recordkeeping requirements included in this proposed rule have been 
submitted for approval to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). 
Please send written comments to the Office of Information and 
Regulatory Affairs, OMB, Attention: Desk Officer for APHIS, Washington, 
DC 20503. Please state that your comments refer to Docket No. APHIS-
2008-0017. Please send a copy of your comments to: (1) Docket No. 
APHIS-2008-0017, Regulatory Analysis and Development, PPD, APHIS, 
Station 3A-03.8, 4700 River Road Unit 118, Riverdale, MD 20737-1238, 
and (2) Clearance Officer, OCIO, USDA, room 404-W, 14th Street and 
Independence Avenue, SW., Washington, DC 20250. A comment to OMB is 
best assured of having its full effect if OMB receives it within 30 
days of publication of this proposed rule.
    APHIS is proposing to allow the importation of commercial 
consignments of tomatoes from the Souss-Massa region of Morocco subject 
to a systems approach similar to that which is already in place for 
tomatoes imported into the United States from other areas of Morocco. 
The tomatoes would have to be produced under conditions that would 
include requirements for pest exclusion at the production site, fruit 
fly trapping inside the production site, and pest-exclusionary 
packinghouse procedures.
    Allowing tomatoes to be imported from Souss-Massa, Morocco into the 
United States will require information collection activities such as 
recordkeeping, trapping data, and the completion of phytosanitary 
certificates.
    We are soliciting comments from the public (as well as affected 
agencies) concerning our proposed information collection and 
recordkeeping requirements. These comments will help us:
    (1) Evaluate whether the proposed information collection is 
necessary for the proper performance of our agency's functions, 
including whether the information will have practical utility;
    (2) Evaluate the accuracy of our estimate of the burden of the 
proposed information collection, including the validity of the 
methodology and assumptions used;
    (3) Enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to 
be collected; and
    (4) Minimize the burden of the information collection on those who 
are to respond (such as through the use of appropriate automated, 
electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection techniques or 
other forms of information technology; e.g., permitting electronic 
submission of responses).
    Estimate of burden: Public reporting burden for this collection of 
information is estimated to average 1.0051546 hours per response.
    Respondents: Foreign officials, exporters, importers, growers of 
tomatoes.
    Estimated annual number of respondents: 18.
    Estimated annual number of responses per respondent: 21.5555.
    Estimated annual number of responses: 388.
    Estimated total annual burden on respondents: 390 hours. (Due to 
averaging, the total annual burden hours may not equal the product of 
the annual number of responses multiplied by the reporting burden per 
response.)
    Copies of this information collection can be obtained from Mrs. 
Celeste Sickles, APHIS' Information Collection Coordinator, at (301) 
851-2908.

E-Government Act Compliance

    The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service is committed to 
compliance with the E-Government Act to promote the use of the Internet 
and other information technologies, to provide increased opportunities 
for citizen access to Government information and services, and for 
other purposes. For information pertinent to E-Government Act 
compliance related to this proposed rule, please contact Mrs. Celeste 
Sickles, APHIS' Information Collection Coordinator, at (301) 851-2908.

List of Subjects in 7 CFR Part 319

    Coffee, Cotton, Fruits, Imports, Logs, Nursery stock, Plant 
diseases and pests, Quarantine, Reporting and recordkeeping 
requirements, Rice, Vegetables.

    Accordingly, we propose to amend 7 CFR part 319 as follows:

PART 319--FOREIGN QUARANTINE NOTICES

    1. The authority citation for part 319 continues to read as 
follows:

    Authority: 7 U.S.C. 450, 7701-7772, and 7781-7786; 21 U.S.C. 136 
and 136a; 7 CFR 2.22, 2.80, and 371.3.

    2. In Sec.  319.56-34, paragraph (j) footnote 8 is redesignated as 
footnote 9.
    3. In Sec.  319.56-28, the introductory text of paragraph (c) is 
revised and a new paragraph (g) is added to read as follows:


Sec.  319.56-28  Tomatoes from certain countries.

* * * * *
    (c) Tomatoes (fruit) (Lycopersicon esculentum) from the provinces 
of El Jadida or Safi in Morocco and the province of Dahkla in Western 
Sahara. Pink tomatoes may be imported into the United States from the 
provinces of El Jadida or Safi in Morocco and the province of Dahkla in 
Western Sahara only in accordance with this section and other 
applicable provisions of this subpart.\7\
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    \7\ See footnote 5 to paragraph (a) of this section.
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* * * * *
    (g) Tomatoes (fruit) (Lycopersicon esculentum) from the Souss-Massa 
region of Morocco. Pink tomatoes may be imported into the United States 
from the Souss-Massa region of Morocco only in accordance with this 
section and other applicable provisions of this subpart.\8\
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    \8\ See footnote 5 to paragraph (a) of this section.
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    (1) The tomatoes must be grown in the Souss-Massa region of Morocco 
in insect-proof greenhouses registered with, and inspected by, the 
Moroccan Ministry of Agriculture, Division of Plant Protection, 
Inspection, and Enforcement (DPVCTRF);

[[Page 28382]]

    (2) The tomatoes may be shipped from the Souss-Massa region of 
Morocco only between December 1 and April 30, inclusive;
    (3) Beginning 2 months prior to the start of the shipping season 
and continuing through the end of the shipping season, DPVCTRF must set 
and maintain Mediterranean fruit fly (Medfly) traps baited with 
trimedlure, or other approved protein bait, inside the greenhouses at a 
rate of 8 traps per hectare, with a minimum of 4 traps in each 
greenhouse. All traps must be checked every 7 days;
    (4) DPVCTRF must maintain records of trap placement, checking of 
traps, and any Medfly captures, and make the records available to APHIS 
upon request. DPVCTRF must maintain an APHIS-approved quality control 
program to monitor or audit the trapping program. The trapping records 
must be maintained for 1 year for APHIS review;
    (5) Capture of a single Medfly in a registered greenhouse during 
the 2 months prior to export and continuing through the duration of the 
harvest, or detection of a Medfly in a consignment which is traced back 
to a registered greenhouse, will immediately result in cancellation of 
exports from that greenhouse until the source of the infestation is 
determined, the Medfly infestation has been eradicated, and measures 
are taken to preclude any future infestation. Exports will not be 
reinstated until APHIS and DPVCTRF mutually determine that risk 
mitigation has been achieved;
    (6) No shade trees are permitted within 10 meters of the entry door 
of the greenhouse or packinghouse, and no Medfly host material is 
permitted within 50 meters of the entry door of the greenhouse or 
packinghouse. Ground applications of an approved protein bait spray 
pesticide for Medfly must be used on all shade trees and host plants 
within 200 meters surrounding the greenhouses as required by APHIS. 
Application must occur every 6 to 10 days starting at least 30 days 
before and during harvest;
    (7) The tomatoes must be packed within 24 hours of harvest and must 
be pink at the time of packing. They must be safeguarded by an insect-
proof mesh screen or plastic tarpaulin while in transit to the 
packinghouse and while awaiting packing. They must be packed in insect-
proof cartons or containers, or covered by insect-proof mesh or plastic 
tarpaulin for transit to the airport or ship and export to the United 
States. These safeguards must be intact upon arrival in the United 
States. Sea containers must be kept closed if stored within 20 meters 
of Medfly host materials prior to loading; and
    (8) DPVCTRF is responsible for export certification inspection and 
issuance of phytosanitary certificates. Each consignment of tomatoes 
must be accompanied by a phytosanitary certificate issued by DPVCTRF 
and bearing the declaration, ``These tomatoes were grown in registered 
greenhouses in El Jadida or Safi Province, Morocco, and were pink at 
the time of packing'' or ``These tomatoes were grown in registered 
greenhouses in the Souss-Massa region and were pink at the time of 
packing.''

    Done in Washington, DC, this 7th day of May 2008.
Cindy J. Smith,
Administrator, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.
[FR Doc. E8-10923 Filed 5-15-08; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3410-34-P