[Federal Register Volume 74, Number 11 (Friday, January 16, 2009)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 2806-2809]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E9-1008]


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DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Agricultural Marketing Service

7 CFR Parts 944, 980, and 999

[Docket No. AMS-FV-07-0110; FV07-944/980/999-1 FR]


Fruit, Vegetable, and Specialty Crops--Import Regulations; 
Proposed Revision to Reporting Requirements

AGENCY: Agricultural Marketing Service, USDA.

ACTION: Final rule.

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SUMMARY: This rule revises the reporting requirements for imports of 
commodities regulated under section 608(e) (hereinafter referred to as 
``8e'') of the Agricultural Marketing Agreement Act of 1937. These 
changes require that the inspection certificates generated for each lot 
of such commodities include the entry number from the U.S. Customs and 
Border Protection (CBP or Customs) documentation that accompanies that 
lot. The changes also require that importers of raisins, dates, and 
dried prunes report products exempt from 8e import regulations on AMS 
Form FV-6--``Importers' Exempt Commodity Form,'' which is the same form 
that is currently used by importers of all other commodities exempt 
from 8e import regulations. These changes are intended to streamline 
the tracking of imported products and provide uniformity in electronic 
reporting systems used by the industries and the Department of 
Agriculture (USDA).

DATES: Effective Date: February 17, 2009.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Rick Lower or Jared Burnett, Marketing 
Order Administration Branch, Fruit and Vegetable Programs, AMS, USDA, 
1400 Independence Avenue, SW., Stop 0237, Washington, DC 20250-0237; 
Telephone: (202) 720-2491, Fax: (202) 720-8938, or E-mail: 
Richard.Lower@usda.gov or JaredK.Burnett@usda.gov.
    Small businesses may request information on complying with this 
regulation by contacting Jay Guerber, Marketing Order Administration 
Branch, Fruit and Vegetable Programs, AMS, USDA, 1400 Independence 
Avenue, SW., STOP 0237, Washington, DC 20250-0237; Telephone: (202) 
720-2491, Fax: (202) 720-8938, or E-mail: Jay.Guerber@usda.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: This final rule is issued under section 8e 
of the Agricultural Marketing Agreement Act of 1937, as amended (7 
U.S.C. 601-674), hereinafter referred to as the ``Act.'' Section 8e 
provides that whenever certain commodities are regulated under Federal 
marketing orders, imports of those commodities into the United States 
are prohibited unless they meet the same or comparable grade, size, 
quality, or maturity requirements as those in effect for the 
domestically produced commodities. To ensure that these requirements 
are met, the Act also authorizes USDA to perform inspections and issue 
inspection certificates for such imported commodities.
    Parts 944, 980, and 999 of title 7 of the Code of Federal 
Regulations (CFR) specify the information that should be included on 
each inspection certificate issued for regulated imports of fruits, 
vegetables, and specialty crops, respectively. Part 999 further 
specifies which forms importers should use to report to USDA and CBP 
imports of raisins, dates, and dried prunes that may be exempt from 
other 8e requirements. Exempt commodities are those which may be 
imported for purposes such as processing, donation to charitable 
organizations, or animal feed.
    USDA is issuing this rule in conformance with Executive Order 
12866.
    There are no administrative procedures which must be exhausted 
prior to any judicial challenge to the provisions of import regulations 
issued under section 8e of the Act.

Customs Entry Number

    Under the import regulations contained in parts 944, 980, and 999, 
inspection certificates issued for imports of certain fruits, 
vegetables, and specialty crops, respectively, must include specific 
information about the lot being inspected. In addition to stating 
whether the lot meets the import requirements, such information as the 
date and place of inspection; the name of the applicant; and the 
variety, quantity, and identifying marks of the lot inspected are 
required.
    Previously, many inspectors have noted the customs entry number 
pertaining to the lot being inspected, which is taken from the Customs 
documentation accompanying that lot, in the ``Remarks'' section or 
elsewhere on the inspection certificate. The unique entry number is 
generated for each lot by CBP, and may be found on any one of the 
various forms used to report imported lots of fruit, vegetable, and 
specialty crop commodities. USDA has found that the entry number 
provides an efficient way to identify individual lots of commodities 
and to cross-reference all the documents pertaining to each lot. If, 
for instance, a certain lot fails to meet

[[Page 2807]]

import regulations when first presented, it may be reworked and 
presented for inspection a second time. The entry number is used to tie 
both the original and any succeeding inspections to that lot. 
Additionally, if a lot that fails to meet import requirements is 
diverted to another market or destroyed, USDA and the importer can use 
the entry number to track that lot through the process.
    This final rule makes the inclusion of the Customs entry number on 
all pertinent inspection certificates mandatory. Including the entry 
number on inspection certificates is intended to allow importers to 
more easily demonstrate that the requirements have been met for each 
lot of regulated commodity imported into the United States. This action 
should also allow USDA to more easily track imported lots.

Form FV-6

    Under the import regulations contained in parts 944, 980, and 999, 
individual lots of some imported commodities may be exempt from 8e 
regulations if they are to be used in the processing of other products 
or consumed through some other exempted use, such as by charitable 
organizations or as animal feed. However, importers and receivers are 
still required to declare their intent to import those commodities into 
the United States to CBP and USDA. Most commodities are reported using 
the generic Form FV-6--``Importer's Exempt Commodity Form.''
    Exempt imports of two commodities--raisins and dates--were 
previously reported on forms unique to those commodities. Exempt 
imports of raisins were reported on Raisin Form No. 1--``Raisins--
Section 8e Entry Declaration'' and Raisin Form No. 2--``Raisins--
Section 8e Certification of Processor of Reseller.'' Exempt imports of 
dates were reported on Date Form No. 1--``Dates--Section 8e Entry 
Declaration'' and Date Form No. 2--``Dates--Section 8e Certification of 
Processor of Reseller.''
    The 8e regulations for dried prunes were indefinitely suspended on 
May 27, 2005. The suspended language in Sec.  999.200 specified that 
exempt imports of dried prunes be reported on Prune Form No. 1--
``Prunes--Section 8e Entry Declaration'' and Prune Form No. 2--
``Prunes--Section 8e Certification of Processor of Reseller.''
    This rule changes the reporting requirements for imported lots of 
raisins, dates, and dried prunes that are exempt from other 8e 
regulations by replacing the commodity-specific import declaration 
forms described above with the generic Form FV-6. The information 
collected on Raisin, Date, and Prune Forms 1 and 2 is the same as that 
collected for other commodities reported on Form FV-6. In its 
conversion to the use of electronic reporting systems, USDA is adopting 
the use of an electronic Form FV-6 to monitor imports of regulated 
commodities that are exempt from the import requirements. Replacing the 
existing raisin, date, and dried prune Forms 1 and 2 with the generic 
Form FV-6 will enable USDA to streamline its operations by collecting 
information electronically and eliminating unnecessary forms.

Final Regulatory Flexibility Analysis

    Pursuant to the requirements set forth in the Regulatory 
Flexibility Act (RFA), AMS has considered the economic impact of this 
rule on small entities. Accordingly, AMS has prepared this final 
regulatory flexibility analysis.
    The purpose of the RFA is to fit regulatory actions to the scale of 
business subject to such actions in order that small businesses will 
not be unduly or disproportionately burdened. Marketing orders issued 
pursuant to the Act, and rules issued thereunder, are unique in that 
they are brought about through group action of essentially small 
entities acting on their own behalf. Import regulations issued under 
the Act are based on those established under Federal marketing orders.
    Small agricultural business firms, which include importers and 
receivers of these commodities, have been defined by the Small Business 
Administration (13 CFR 121.601) as those having annual receipts of less 
than $6,500,000. It is likely that the majority of these importers and 
receivers may be classified as small entities.
    This rule revises the reporting requirements for imports of 
commodities regulated under section 8e by requiring that the entry 
number from the CBP documentation that accompanies each shipment is 
included on all inspection certificates pertaining to that lot. 
Specifically, regulations under part 944 pertaining to imports of 
avocados, grapefruit, table grapes, kiwifruit, oranges, fresh prunes 
(plums), and olives; part 980 pertaining to Irish potatoes, onions, and 
tomatoes; and part 999 pertaining to dates, walnuts, dried prunes, 
raisins, and filberts (hazelnuts) are revised.
    Requiring that the Customs entry number be included on the 
inspection certificates should have very little impact on importers or 
receivers. The Customs documentation containing the entry number 
assigned to each shipment normally accompanies the shipment and should 
be available at the time of inspection. The inspector will note the 
entry number on the inspection certificate. This is already being done 
by many inspectors. The inspection certificate is completed by Federal 
or Federal-State employees. Therefore, there is no regulatory burden on 
small entities.
    This action further modifies part 999 by requiring that importers 
and receivers of raisins, dates, and dried prunes report products 
exempt from 8e import regulations on Form FV-6--``Importers' Exempt 
Commodity Form,'' instead of the commodity-specific forms previously 
prescribed for those shipments. Form FV-6 is the same form that is 
currently used by importers and receivers to report exempted shipments 
of all other section 8e commodities. There are an estimated 329 
importers and receivers of all exempt commodities. These changes are 
intended to streamline the tracking of imported products and provide 
uniformity in electronic reporting systems used by the industries and 
USDA.
    It is estimated that 5 importers and 5 receivers of imported 
raisins for processing, and 5 importers and 10 receivers of imported 
dates for processing, will be required to replace Raisin and Date Forms 
No. 1 and 2 with Form FV-6 as a result of this rule. As mentioned 
above, the domestic order regulations for dried prunes have been 
suspended. Therefore, the section 8e regulations for imported dried 
prunes are also suspended. It is unknown how many dried prune importers 
and receivers would be affected by this rule if the suspension is 
lifted.
    Replacing Raisin, Date, and Prune Forms 1 & 2 with the generic Form 
FV-6 will eliminate the need to stock various commodity-specific forms. 
Use of an electronic Form FV-6 should further improve business 
efficiency for those required to file the reports as well as for USDA.
    Raisin, Date, and Prune Forms No. 1 and 2 were previously approved 
by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) under OMB No. 0581-0178, 
``Vegetable and Specialty Crop Marketing Orders'' for 48.5 burden 
hours. Form FV-6 is currently approved by OMB under OMB No. 0581-0167, 
``Specified Commodities Imported into the United States Exempt from 
Import Requirements.'' This rule removes 48.5 burden hours from OMB No. 
0581-0178, and transfers burden to OMB No. 0581-0167. This information 
collection has been submitted to OMB for approval.

[[Page 2808]]

    AMS is committed to complying 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. Further, AMS is committed to 
compliance with the Government Paperwork Elimination Act, which 
requires government agencies in general to provide the public with the 
option of submitting information or transacting business electronically 
to the maximum extent possible.
    USDA has not identified any relevant Federal rules that duplicate, 
overlap or conflict with this rule. As with all Federal marketing order 
programs, reports and forms are periodically reviewed to reduce 
information requirements and duplication by the industry and public 
sector agencies.
    A proposed rule concerning this action was published in the Federal 
Register on May 30, 2008 (73 FR 31036). The proposal was made available 
through the Internet by USDA and the Office of the Federal Register. A 
60-day comment period ending July, 29, 2008, was provided for 
interested persons to submit comments on this proposed rule, including 
the regulatory and informational impacts of this action on small 
businesses. No comments were received.
    A conforming change to the introductory text of Sec.  999.1(e) was 
inadvertently omitted from the Federal Register publication of the 
proposed rule. In that text, the reference to Date Form No. 1 should 
have been changed to refer to Form FV-6. Accordingly, that modification 
to the proposed rule is made in this final rule. Additional 
miscellaneous changes are also made for clarity.
    A small business guide on complying with fruit, vegetable, and 
specialty crop marketing agreements and orders may be viewed at: http://www.ams.usda.gov/fv/moab.html. Any questions about the compliance 
guide should be sent to Jay Guerber at the previously mentioned address 
in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section.
    After consideration of all relevant matters presented, it is hereby 
found that this rule, as hereinafter set forth, will tend to effectuate 
the declared policy of the Act.

List of Subjects

7 CFR Part 944

    Avocados, Food grades and standards, Grapefruit, Grapes, Imports, 
Kiwifruit, Limes, Olives, Oranges.

7 CFR Part 980

    Food grades and standards, Imports, Marketing agreements, Onions, 
Potatoes, Tomatoes.

7 CFR Part 999

    Dates, Filberts, Food grades and standards, Imports, Nuts, Prunes, 
Raisins, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Walnuts.

0
For the reasons set forth above, 7 CFR parts 944, 980, and 999 are 
amended as follows:
0
1. The authority citation for 7 CFR parts 944, 980, and 999 continue to 
read as follows:

    Authority: 7 U.S.C. 601-674.

PART 944--FRUITS; IMPORT REGULATIONS

0
2. In Sec.  944.400, amend paragraph (d) by redesignating paragraphs 
(d)(3) through (d)(7) as paragraphs (d)(4) through (d)(8) and adding a 
new paragraph (d)(3) to read as follows:


Sec.  944.400  Designated inspection services and procedure for 
obtaining inspection and certification of imported avocados, 
grapefruit, kiwifruit, oranges, prune variety plums (fresh prunes), and 
table grapes regulated under section 8e of the Agricultural Marketing 
Agreement Act of 1937, as amended.

* * * * *
    (d) * * *
    (3) The Customs entry number pertaining to the lot or shipment 
covered by the certificate;
* * * * *

0
3. In Sec.  944.401, amend paragraph (i), by redesignating paragraphs 
(i)(3) through (i)(8) as paragraphs (i)(4) through (i)(9) and adding a 
new paragraph (i)(3) to read as follows:


Sec.  944.401  Olive Regulation 1.

* * * * *
    (i) * * *
    (3) The Customs entry number pertaining to the lot or shipment 
covered by the certificate;
* * * * *

PART 980--VEGETABLES; IMPORT REGULATIONS

0
4. In Sec.  980.1, amend paragraph (g)(4), by redesignating paragraphs 
(g)(4)(iii) through (g)(4)(vii) as paragraphs (g)(4)(iv) through 
(g)(4)(viii) and adding a new paragraph (g)(4)(iii) to read as follows:


Sec.  980.1  Import regulations; Irish potatoes.

* * * * *
    (g) * * *
    (4) * * *
    (iii) The Customs entry number pertaining to the lot or shipment 
covered by the certificate;
* * * * *

0
5. In Sec.  980.117, amend paragraph (f)(5), by redesignating 
paragraphs (f)(5)(iii) through (f)(5)(vii) as paragraphs (f)(5)(iv) 
through (f)(5)(viii) and adding a new paragraph (f)(5)(iii) to read as 
follows:


Sec.  980.117  Import regulations; onions.

* * * * *
    (f) * * *
    (5) * * *
    (iii) The Customs entry number pertaining to the lot or shipment 
covered by the certificate;
* * * * *

0
6. In Sec.  980.212, amend paragraph (f)(5), by redesignating 
paragraphs (f)(5)(iii) through (f)(5)(vii) as paragraphs (f)(5)(iv) 
through (f)(5)(viii) and adding a new paragraph (f)(5)(iii) to read as 
follows:


Sec.  980.212  Import regulations; tomatoes.

* * * * *
    (f) * * *
    (5) * * *
    (iii) The Customs entry number pertaining to the lot or shipment 
covered by the certificate;

PART 999--SPECIALTY CROPS; IMPORT REGULATIONS


Sec.  999.1  [Amended]

0
7. Amend Sec.  999.1 by:
0
A. Redesignating paragraphs (c)(2)(iii) through (c)(2)(v) as paragraphs 
(c)(2)(iv) through (c)(2)(vi) and adding a new paragraph (c)(2)(iii).
0
B. Revising the introductory text of paragraph (e).
0
C. Removing the phrase ``(c)(2)(iv)'' in paragraph (e)(1) and adding 
the phrase ``(c)(2)(v)'' in its place.
0
D. Revising paragraph (e)(2).
0
E. Revising paragraph (e)(3).
0
F. Removing the phrase ``Date Form No. 2'' in paragraph (e)(4) and 
adding the phrase ``Form FV-6'' in its place.
0
G. Removing the phrase ``Date Form No. 2 `Dates for Processing--Section 
8e Certification of Processor or Reseller' '' in paragraph (f) and 
adding the phrase ``Form FV-6--`Importer's Exempt Commodity Form' '' in 
its place.
0
H. Removing the phrase ``Date Form No. 1 `Dates--Section 8e Entry 
Declaration' '', in the first sentence in paragraph (g), and adding the 
phrase ``Form FV-6--`Importer's Exempt Commodity Form' '' in its place.
0
I. Removing the phrase ``Date Form No. 1'', from the second sentence in 
paragraph (g), and adding the phrase ``Form FV-6'' in its place.

[[Page 2809]]

0
The additions and revisions read as follows:


Sec.  999.1  Regulation governing the importation of dates.

* * * * *
    (c) * * *
    (2) * * *
    (iii) The Customs entry number pertaining to the lot or shipment 
covered by the certificate;
    * * *
    (e) Importation. No person may import dates into the United States 
unless he or she first files with the Collector of Customs at the port 
at which the Customs entry is filed, as a condition of each such 
importation, either an inspection certificate or an executed Form FV-
6--`Importer's Exempt Commodity Form.'
    (1) * * *
    (2) Dates for processing and dates prepared or preserved--
importation. Any person may import dates for processing and dates 
prepared or preserved exempt from the grade, inspection, and 
certification requirements of this section if the importer first files 
as a condition of such importation an executed Form FV-6--`Importer's 
Exempt Commodity Form.' The importer shall promptly transmit a copy of 
the executed Form FV-6 to the Fruit and Vegetable Division.
    (3) Dates for processing--Sale by importer. No importer or other 
person may import, sell, or use any dates for processing other than for 
use as set forth in paragraph (a)(4) of this section or as otherwise 
permitted by this section. Each importer of dates for processing shall 
obtain from each purchaser, no later than the time of delivery to such 
purchaser, and file with the Fruit and Vegetable Division not later 
than the fifth day of the month following the month in which the dates 
were delivered, an executed Form FV-6.
* * * * *
0
8. In Sec.  999.100, amend paragraph (c)(2), by redesignating 
paragraphs (c)(2)(iv) and (c)(2)(v) as paragraphs (c)(2)(v) and 
(c)(2)(vi), respectively, and adding a new paragraph (c)(2)(iv) to read 
as follows:


Sec.  999.100  Regulations governing imports of walnuts.

* * * * *
    (c) * * *
    (2) * * *
    (iv) The Customs entry number pertaining to the lot or shipment 
covered by the certificate;
* * * * *


Sec.  999.200  [Amended]

0
9. In Sec.  999.200, lift the suspension of May 27, 2005, and amend the 
section as follows:
0
A. Remove the phrase ``Prune Form No. 1 `Prunes--Section 8e Entry 
Declaration' '' in paragraph (b)(5), and add in its place the phrase 
``Form FV-6--`Importer's Exempt Commodity Form.' ''
0
B. Redesignate paragraphs (c)(2)(iii) through (c)(2)(v) as paragraphs 
(c)(2)(iv) through (c)(2)(vi) and add a new paragraph (c)(2)(iii).
0
C. Remove the phrase `` `Prunes--Section 8e Entry Declaration,' 
prescribed in paragraph (e)(2) of this section as Prune Form No. 1'' in 
the second sentence of paragraph (e)(1), and add the phrase ``Form FV-
6--`Importer's Exempt Commodity Form;' '' in its place;
0
D. Remove the phrase `` `Prunes--Section 8e Certification of Processor 
or Reseller,' prescribed in paragraph (e)(3) of this section as Prune 
Form No. 2'' in the fifth sentence of paragraph (e)(1), and add the 
phrase ``Form FV-6--`Importer's Exempt Commodity Form' '' in its place.
0
E. Remove paragraphs (e)(2) and (e)(3).
0
F. Redesignate paragraph (e)(4) as paragraph (e)(2).
0
G. Revise newly designated paragraph (e)(2).
0
The additions and revisions read as follows:


Sec.  999.200  Regulation governing the importation of prunes.

* * * * *
    (c) * * *
    (2) * * *
    (iii) The Customs entry number pertaining to the lot or shipment 
covered by the certificate;
* * * * *
    (e) * * *
    (2) Manufacturing Grade Substandard Prune--sale by other than 
importer. Each wholesaler or other reseller of manufacturing grade 
substandard prunes should, for his or her protection, obtain from each 
purchaser and hold in his or her files an executed Form FV-6--
`Importer's Exempt Commodity Form' covering each sale during the 
calendar year.
* * * * *


Sec.  999.200   [Suspended]

0
10. Suspend Sec.  999.200 indefinitely.


Sec.  999.300   [Amended]

0
11. Amend Sec.  999.300 as follows:
0
A. Redesignate paragraph (c)(2)(iv) through (c)(2)(vi) as paragraphs 
(c)(2)(v) through (c)(2)(vii) and add a new paragraph (c)(2)(iv).
0
B. Remove the phrase `` `Raisins--Section 8e Entry Declaration' 
prescribed in paragraph (e)(2)(i) of this section as `Raisin Form No. 
1' '' in the second sentence of paragraph (e)(2), and add the phrase 
``Form FV-6--Importer's Exempt Commodity Form'' in its place.
0
C. Remove the phrase `` `Raisins--Section 8e Certification of Processor 
or Reseller,' prescribed in paragraph (e)(2)(ii) of this section as 
`Raisin Form No. 2' '' in the fifth sentence of paragraph (e)(2), and 
add the phrase ``Form FV-6'' in its place.
0
D. Remove the phrase ``Raisin Form No. 2'' in the seventh sentence of 
paragraph (e)(2), and add the phrase ``Form FV-6'' in its place.
0
E. Remove paragraphs (e)(2)(i) and (e)(2)(ii).
0
The addition reads as follows:


Sec.  999.300   Regulation governing importation of raisins.

* * * * *
    (c) * * *
    (2) * * *
    (iv) The Customs entry number pertaining to the lot or shipment 
covered by the certificate;
* * * * *
0
12. In Sec.  999.400, amend paragraph (c)(3) by redesignating 
paragraphs (c)(3)(iv) through (c)(3)(vi) as paragraphs (c)(3)(v) 
through (c)(3)(vii) and adding a new paragraph (c)(3)(iv) to read as 
follows:


Sec.  999.400   Regulation governing the importation of filberts.

* * * * *
    (c) * * *
    (3) * * *
    (iv) The Customs entry number pertaining to the lot or shipment 
covered by the certificate;
* * * * *

    Dated: January 13, 2009.
James E. Link,
Administrator, Agricultural Marketing Service.
 [FR Doc. E9-1008 Filed 1-15-09; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3410-02-P