[Federal Register Volume 74, Number 96 (Wednesday, May 20, 2009)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 23609-23612]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E9-11735]



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Rules and Regulations
                                                Federal Register
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This section of the FEDERAL REGISTER contains regulatory documents 
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to and codified in the Code of Federal Regulations, which is published 
under 50 titles pursuant to 44 U.S.C. 1510.

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Federal Register / Vol. 74, No. 96 / Wednesday, May 20, 2009 / Rules 
and Regulations

[[Page 23609]]



DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service

7 CFR Parts 305 and 319

[Docket No. APHIS-2007-0161]
RIN 0579-AC89


Importation of Longan From Taiwan

AGENCY: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, USDA.

ACTION: Final rule.

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SUMMARY: We are amending the regulations to allow the importation of 
commercial shipments of fresh longan with stems from Taiwan into the 
United States. As a condition of entry, the longan will be subject to 
cold treatment and special port-of-arrival inspection procedures for 
certain quarantine pests. In addition, the fruit will have to be 
accompanied by a phytosanitary certificate stating that the fruit was 
inspected and found to be free of certain quarantine pests, and the 
individual cartons or boxes in which the longan are shipped will be 
stamped or printed with a statement prohibiting their importation into 
or distribution in the State of Florida. This action will allow for the 
importation of commercial shipments of fresh longan with stems from 
Taiwan into the United States while continuing to provide protection 
against the introduction of quarantine pests into the United States.

DATES: Effective Date: June 19, 2009.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. Alex Belano, Branch Chief, 
Regulations, Permits, and Manuals; Risk Management and Plants for 
Planting Policy, 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 319.56-48, 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.
    On November 7, 2008, we published in the Federal Register (73 FR 
66200-66205, Docket No. APHIS-2007-0161) a proposal \1\ to amend the 
regulations by allowing the importation of commercial shipments of 
fresh longan with stems from Taiwan into the United States. As a 
condition of entry, the longan would be subject to cold treatment and 
special port-of-arrival inspection procedures for certain quarantine 
pests. In addition, the fruit would have to be accompanied by a 
phytosanitary certificate stating that the fruit was inspected and 
found to be free of certain pests, and the individual cartons or boxes 
in which the longan are shipped would have to be stamped or printed 
with a statement prohibiting their importation into or distribution in 
the State of Florida. We proposed this action to allow for the 
importation of commercial shipments of fresh longan with stems from 
Taiwan into the United States while continuing to protect against the 
introduction of quarantine pests into the United States.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \1\ To view the proposed rule and the comments we received, go 
to http://www.regulations.gov/fdmspublic/component/main?main=DocketDetail&d=APHIS-2007-0161.
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    We solicited comments concerning our proposal for 60 days ending 
January 6, 2009. We received two comments by that date. They were from 
a research entomologist and from a private citizen. They are discussed 
below by topic.
    One commenter stated that longan is not a host for the litchi rust 
mite (Aceria litchi), and that the mite should be removed from the list 
of pests of longan in the pest risk assessment. The commenter provided 
a reference to a scientific article that supported this statement. The 
commenter further stated that because longan is not a host of the 
litchi rust mite, we should not include in the final rule the 
prohibition against their importation and distribution into Florida, 
which we proposed to protect that State's commercial litchi and longan 
production from the litchi rust mite.
    We have reviewed the article the commenter cited as well as other 
peer-reviewed scientific publications on the litchi rust mite and pests 
of longan. The majority of these materials indicate that longan may not 
be a major host of the litchi rust mite, but can be a minor host or a 
host under certain conditions. Furthermore, in its request to export 
longan to the United States, the Taiwanese Government included the mite 
in its list of pests associated with longan in Taiwan and reported it 
to have major economic significance. For these reasons, we continue to 
treat longan as a host for the litchi rust mite, and this final rule 
includes a prohibition against the importation or distribution of 
longan from Taiwan into Florida.
    One commenter stated that, because Hawaii is also a longan-
producing State, longan imported from Taiwan should be subject to the 
same distribution restrictions for Hawaii as we proposed to establish 
for Florida.
    The importation or distribution of longan from Taiwan into Florida 
is prohibited to protect against the introduction of the litchi rust 
mite. This is consistent with other import programs in which shipments 
of litchis and longan from areas where litchi rust mite exists are 
prohibited from importation or distribution into Florida. However, the 
litchi rust mite is already established in Hawaii, so there is no 
additional plant health benefit to prohibiting the importation or 
distribution of longan from Taiwan into Hawaii. We are making no 
changes to the proposed rule in response to this comment.
    One commenter expressed concern that domestic growers could suffer 
economically as a result of competition with cheaper imported longan.
    Under the Plant Protection Act (7 U.S.C. 7701 et seq.), we have the 
authority to prohibit or restrict the importation of plants and plant 
products only when necessary to prevent the introduction into or 
dissemination of plant pests or noxious weeds within the United States. 
We do not have the authority to restrict imports solely on the grounds 
of potential economic effects on domestic entities that could result 
from increased imports. We did, however, prepare an

[[Page 23610]]

economic analysis of the potential economic effects of the rule, as 
required by the Regulatory Flexibility Act. Our analysis for this final 
rule is presented in the paragraphs that follow. Based on that 
analysis, we have determined that this rule will not have a significant 
economic impact on a substantial number of small entities.
    Therefore, for the reasons given in the proposed rule and in this 
document, we are adopting the proposed rule as a final rule, without 
change.

Executive Order 12866 and Regulatory Flexibility Act

    This final 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.
    After conducting an initial regulatory flexibility analysis for the 
proposed rule, APHIS has determined that this rule will not, if 
promulgated, have a significant economic impact on a substantial number 
of small entities. The following is a factual basis for this 
determination. No significant public comments were received in response 
to the initial regulatory flexibility analysis.
    Since publication of the proposed rule, APHIS has obtained updated 
data on the production of fresh longan in the United States. The United 
States is not a major producer of longan. Latest estimates indicate 
that the United States annually produces around 5 million pounds of 
longan in California, Hawaii, and Florida, with most production 
occurring in south Florida.\2\
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    \2\ University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural 
Sciences Extension. ``Importation of Tropical Fruits from 
Thailand.'' E. Evans and S. Nalampang. August 2008. http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/document_fe719.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    In California, longan is considered an experimental crop that is 
rarely available to consumers.\3\ Although there are some private 
gardens in southern California that grow longan, reportedly less than 
25 acres are planted for commercial production.\4\
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    \3\ Ventura County Cooperative Extension. University of 
California, Agriculture and Natural Resources. ``Longan''. http://ceventura.ucdavis.edu/Agriculture265/Longan.htm 2009.
    \4\ Mark Gaskell, University of California cooperative extension 
advisor for San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties, personal 
communication. March 4, 2008.
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    In 2007, 75 Hawaiian farms harvested 160 acres of longan yielding 
263,000 pounds valued at $784,000.\5\ It is estimated that 99 percent 
of the fruit is sold fresh, 40 percent of which is irradiated and 
shipped to mainland metropolitan areas such as Chicago, IL, and San 
Francisco, CA. Hawaii's remaining longan is sold within that State at 
resort hotels, farmers' markets, and in Honolulu's Chinatown.\6\
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    \5\ USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. ``Hawaii 
Specialty Fruits.'' August 2008. http://www.nass.usda.gov/Statistics_by_State/Hawaii/Publications/Fruits_and_Nuts/tropfrt.pdf.
    \6\ Love, Ken. West Hawaii Director for the Hawaii Tropical 
Growers Association, personal communication, April 15, 2008.
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    In 1996, 91 percent of Florida's longan production was located in 
Miami-Dade County.\7\ Revenue reports from 1998, the most recent 
revenue data available on Florida's longan production, show that 275 
acres of longan yielded a value of $8.9 million.\8\ These data imply 
average revenue per acre of over $32,300, which is many times larger 
than the average revenue per acre, $4,900, for Hawaii's longan 
producers. Assuming that not more than 300,000 pounds of longan are 
produced in California and Hawaii, then at least 94 percent (4,700,000 
pounds) of U.S. longan production takes place in Florida. While Florida 
does not report the destination of longan leaving Miami-Dade County, 
principal demand for the longan as a minor tropical fruit is 
geographically limited, with most of the crop sold on the local fresh 
market.\9\ Although U.S. production of longan has increased over the 
past 5 years, there is still limited demand for this fruit.\10\
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    \7\ University of Florida, IFAS Extension, ``Florida Crop/Pest 
Management Profile: Lychee and Longan.'' Mark Mossler and O. Norman 
Nesheim. March 2002. http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/pdffiles/PI/PI05000.pdf.
    \8\ Florida Agricultural Market Research Center, IFAS. Miami-
Dade Agricultural Land Retention Study. Economic Issues Vol 3. p. 4. 
April 2002. http://www.agmarketing.ifas.ufl.edu/dlfiles/DadeAgLandRetentionAppendixVolumeB.pdf.
    \9\ Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. 
Charles H. Bronson. Florida Agriculture Statistical Directory. 
http://www.florida-agriculture.com/pubs/pubform/pdf/Florida_Agricultural_Statistical_Directory.pdf pg. 29. May 19, 2008.
    \10\ University of Florida IFAS Extension. ``Importation of 
Tropical Fruits from Thailand.'' Edward Evans and Sikavas Nalampang. 
August 2008. http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/document_fe719.
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    Major foreign producers of fresh longan include China, Thailand, 
and Taiwan. Both China and Thailand are allowed to export fresh longan 
fruit to the United States, excluding Florida. In 2007, China's 
production was around 2.8 billion pounds of longan, 3.1 million pounds 
of which was exported fresh to the United States.\11\ Thailand's 
production was around 1.1 billion pounds \12\ and exports totaled 354 
million pounds to China, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Singapore, and the 
Philippines. Since the publication of final rule allowing the 
importation of fruit from Thailand (72 FR 34163-34176, published June 
21, 2007, effective July 23, 2007, Docket No. APHIS-2006-0040), PPQ has 
reported 164 shipments with a total of 326,383 boxes of fresh longan 
imported into the United States from Thailand between November 2007 and 
March 2009.
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    \11\ USDA Foreign Agricultural Service. ``GAIN Report. Tropical 
Fruit in China 2008.'' May 28, 2008. http://www.fas.usda.gov/gainfiles/200805/146294773.pdf.
    \12\ Office of Agricultural Economics. Agricultural Statistics 
of Thailand. Table 61, Longan. http://www.oae.go.th/statistic/yearbook50/section5/sec5table61.pdf.
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    Taiwan is a major producer of longan. In 2002, Taiwan produced over 
242 million pounds, on over 29,000 acres.\13\ The Taiwanese Government 
estimates that annual fresh longan exports to the United States will 
total around 397,000 pounds, a quantity equivalent to about 13 percent 
of U.S. longan imports from China and about 8 percent of U.S. 
production. Fresh longan fruit with stems is currently admissible from 
other countries besides China and Thailand, including the Bahamas, 
Bermuda, Dominican Republic, Haiti, and Jamaica.
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    \13\ Yen, C.R. ``Longan Production in Taiwan.'' ACTA Agriculture 
vol: Jan 2005, no. 665 p. 61-66.
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    While longan imports from Taiwan will compete with U.S.-produced 
longan, we expect that they will also compete with and substitute for 
longan imports from other countries, especially China, as well as help 
meet the expanding U.S. demand for exotic fruits. Displacement of other 
imports and an expanding market will moderate adverse effects of this 
rule for U.S. producers.
    Under these circumstances, the Administrator of the Animal and 
Plant Health Inspection Service has determined that this action will 
not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small 
entities.

Executive Order 12988

    This final rule allows fresh longan with stems to be imported into 
the United States from Taiwan. State and local laws and regulations 
regarding fresh longan imported under this rule will be preempted while 
the fruit is in foreign commerce. Fresh longan are generally imported 
for immediate distribution and sale to the consuming public, and 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. 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.

[[Page 23611]]

Paperwork Reduction Act

    In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 
3501 et seq.), the information collection or recordkeeping requirements 
included in this rule have been approved by the Office of Management 
and Budget (OMB) under OMB control number 0579-0351.

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 rule, please contact Mrs. Celeste Sickles, 
APHIS' Information Collection Coordinator, at (301) 851-2908.

List of Subjects

7 CFR Part 305

    Irradiation, Phytosanitary treatment, Plant diseases and pests, 
Quarantine, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements.

7 CFR Part 319

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

0
Accordingly, we are amending 7 CFR parts 305 and 319 as follows:

PART 305--PHYTOSANITARY TREATMENTS

0
1. The authority citation for part 305 continues to read as follows:

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


0
2. In Sec.  305.2, the table in paragraph (h)(2)(i) is amended by 
adding, in alphabetical order, under Taiwan, a new entry for longan to 
read as follows:


Sec.  305.2  Approved treatments.

* * * * *
    (h) * * *
    (2) * * *
    (i) * * *

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
              Location                      Commodity                    Pest               Treatment schedule
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
                                                  * * * * * * *
Taiwan:
 
                                                  * * * * * * *
                                     Longan................  Bactrocera dorsalis, B.      CT T107-h.
                                                              cucurbitae, Conopomorpha
                                                              sinensis.
 
                                                  * * * * * * *
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

* * * * *


0
3. In Sec.  305.16, the table is amended by revising the entries for 
treatment schedules T107-h and T107-j to read as follows:



Sec.  305.16  Cold treatment schedules.



------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                      Temperature
       Treatment schedule              ([deg]F)         Exposure period
------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
                              * * * * * * *
T107-h..........................  33.8 or below.....  17 days
                                  34.5 or below.....  20 days.
T107-j..........................  33.8 or below.....  15 days.
                                  34.5 or below.....  18 days.
 
                              * * * * * * *
------------------------------------------------------------------------

* * * * *

PART 319--FOREIGN QUARANTINE NOTICES

0
4. 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.


0
5. Section 319.56-13 is amended as follows:
0
a. In paragraph (a), in the table, by adding, in alphabetical order, 
under Taiwan, a new entry for longan to read as set forth below.
0
b. By adding a new paragraph (b)(5)(xvii) to read as set forth below.
0
c. By revising the OMB citation at the end of the section to read as 
set forth below.


Sec.  319.56-13  Fruits and vegetables allowed importation subject to 
specified conditions.

    (a) * * *

[[Page 23612]]



----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                                  Additional
   Country/locality of origin         Common name       Botanical name       Plant part(s)       requirements
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
                                                  * * * * * * *
Taiwan:
 
                                                  * * * * * * *
                                  Longan............  Dimocarpus longan.  Fruit and stems...  (b)(2)(v), (b)(3),
                                                                                               (b)(5)(xv),
                                                                                               (b)(5)(xvii).
 
                                                  * * * * * * *
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

* * * * *
    (b) * * *
    (5) * * *
    (xvii) Must be accompanied by a phytosanitary certificate issued by 
the national plant protection organization of the exporting country of 
origin with an additional declaration stating that the fruit is free of 
Conogethes punctiferalis, Cryptophlebia ombrodelta, and 
Rhipiphorothrips cruentatus.

(Approved by the Office of Management and Budget under control 
numbers 0579-0049, 0579-0236, 0579-0264, 0579-0316, and 0579-0351)

    Done in Washington, DC, this 14th day of May 2009.
Kevin Shea,
Acting Administrator, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.
[FR Doc. E9-11735 Filed 5-19-09; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3410-34-P