[Federal Register Volume 74, Number 129 (Wednesday, July 8, 2009)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 32391-32400]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E9-16146]


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DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service

7 CFR Part 354

[Docket No. APHIS-2006-0137]
RIN 0579-AC22


User Fees; Export Certification for Plants and Plant Products

AGENCY: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, USDA.

ACTION: Final rule.

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SUMMARY: We are amending the user fee regulations by adjusting the fees 
charged for export certification of plants and plant products. We are 
increasing these user fees for fiscal years 2010 through 2012 to 
reflect the anticipated costs associated with providing these services 
during each year. We are also adding a new user fee for Federal export 
certificates for plants and plant products that an exporter obtains 
from a State or county cooperator in order to recover our costs 
associated with that service. Finally, we are making several 
nonsubstantive changes to the regulations for clarity. These changes 
will enable us to properly recover the costs of providing export 
certification services for plants and plant products.

DATES: Effective Date: October 1, 2009.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For information concerning program 
operations, contact Mr. Marcus McElvaine, Senior Export Specialist, 
Phytosanitary Issues Management, PPQ, APHIS, 4700 River Road Unit 140, 
Riverdale, MD 20737-1236; (301) 734-8414. For information concerning 
rate development, contact Mrs. Kris Caraher, User Fee Section, 
Financial Services Branch, Financial Management Division, MRPBS, APHIS, 
4700 River Road Unit 55, Riverdale, MD 20737-1232; (301) 734-0882.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Background

    On June 12, 2007, we published in the Federal Register (72 FR 
32223-32230, Docket No. APHIS-2006-0137) a proposal \1\ to amend the 
user fee regulations in 7 CFR 354.3 by adjusting the fees charged for 
export certification of plants and plant products. We proposed to 
increase these user fees for fiscal years (FYs) 2007 through 2012 to 
reflect the anticipated costs associated with providing these services 
during each year. We also proposed to add a new user fee for Federal 
export certificates for plants and plant products that an exporter 
obtains from a State or county cooperator in order to recover our costs 
associated with that service and to make some additional nonsubstantive 
changes to the regulations for greater clarity. The proposed changes 
were intended to enable us to properly recover the costs of providing 
export certification services for plants and plant products.
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    \1\ To view the proposed rule and the comments we received, go 
to http://www.regulations.gov/fdmspublic/component/main?main=DocketDetail&d=APHIS-2006-0137.
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    We solicited comments concerning our proposal for 60 days ending 
August 13, 2007. We received 75 comments by that date. They were from 
producers, exporters, research institutions, relief agencies, and 
representatives of State

[[Page 32392]]

and county governments. They are discussed below by topic.
    A number of commenters stated that the adjustments to the existing 
fees, together with the addition of the proposed new fee for 
certificates issued on behalf of the Animal and Plant Health Inspection 
Service (APHIS) by State and county cooperators, would increase both 
the paperwork burden and the cost of doing business for exporters of 
various products, including seeds, hardwood lumber, cotton, beans, 
daylilies, and rice, thus making U.S. exports less competitive than 
they are now. It was also stated that the proposed fees would adversely 
affect small entities, since many of these exporters are small, 
according to the Small Business Administration's (SBA's) criteria.
    We do not anticipate that the rule will entail any increase in the 
paperwork burden for the exporters referred to above, and the 
commenters did not provide details or examples to the contrary. Payment 
of the increased fees may increase the up-front costs of doing business 
for some entities; however, these entities benefit from the export 
certification services we provide, without which their goods would not 
be allowed into the importing countries. The fees are necessary in 
order for us to recover the cost of providing these services. Potential 
impacts of the fee adjustments on small entities, which we anticipate 
to be small, are discussed in the full economic analysis and in the 
summary of it presented later in this document. Because the costs APHIS 
incurs in providing export services vary according to the type or value 
of the shipment but are the same regardless of whether the exporter is 
a large or small entity, we cannot offer discounts to the latter if we 
are to recover our costs fully.
    As we noted in the Supplementary Information section of the June 
2007 proposed rule, the user fees supporting the Export Program have 
not been adjusted since 1996, and, due to inflation and other factors, 
we have not been fully recovering the cost of providing our export 
services in recent years. Since 1996, the increase in the cost of 
administering the Export Program has actually outpaced the inflation 
rate. Many new overseas markets for U.S. agricultural commodities have 
opened up since then, and U.S. exports have increased correspondingly, 
both in overall volumes and in the variety of commodities being 
exported. Our workload has increased due to the increase in volumes of 
exports, and the need to review and evaluate new commodities for export 
and new foreign country phytosanitary requirements has made the 
background work required to issue export certificates more complex.
    Some commenters stated that the adjusted user fees will increase 
production costs for growers.
    The cost of obtaining a phytosanitary certificate to export a 
commodity is not a direct production cost. While we do recognize that 
the adjusted fees will raise the costs of doing business, as noted 
earlier, affected entities also benefit from the export services we 
provide. Moreover, we need to recover fully the costs of providing 
those services. Because we last raised user fees in 1996, we have not 
been fully recovering these costs.
    A few commenters expressed the concern that the increased fees 
could adversely affect the activities of hunger relief agencies and 
research institutions. Such institutions sometimes export high-value 
shipments but for noncommercial purposes.
    We do not agree with this comment. Under most circumstances, 
shippers are subject to the higher commercial fees if the value of 
their shipment exceeds $1,250. Commercial shipment is defined in Sec.  
354.3(a), however, as a shipment for gain or profit. As long as they 
can provide the proper documentation to demonstrate that there are no 
profits associated with their shipments, relief agencies and research 
institutions are, and would continue to be, subject to the 
significantly lower rates applicable to noncommercial shipments even if 
the value of a shipment exceeds $1,250. To qualify for the 
noncommercial rate, the exporter, shipper, or broker must present one 
of the following documents: CCC 512, Notice of Commodity Availability; 
KC 269, Notice to Deliver; or KC 269-A, Forwarding Notice. Offering 
additional discounts or exemptions for relief agencies and research 
institutions would not allow us to recover the costs associated with 
the export certification services that we provide them.
    Some commenters stated that our proposed fee increases were 
unjustified because many of the inspections that need to be performed 
before phytosanitary export certificates can be issued are conducted 
under compliance agreement by personnel not affiliated with APHIS' 
Plant Protection and Quarantine (PPQ) program.
    Because it is still necessary for us to recover the costs 
associated with administering such compliance agreements, which we are 
not doing under the current fee structure, we will not be making any 
changes to the final rule as a result of these comments. Compliance 
agreements, which are voluntary, are intended to help exporters to ship 
their products more quickly. Such agreements do not alleviate APHIS' 
costs for reviewing certificates and overseeing and administering the 
export program.
    A commenter suggested that increasing the export certification user 
fees may actually be detrimental to our efforts to prevent the spread 
of plant pests and diseases because exporters may attempt to ship their 
goods without phytosanitary certificates in order to avoid paying the 
fees.
    Export certification is a service provided by APHIS to enable 
exporters to ship their goods to foreign countries that require such 
certification. An exporter who elects to ship without a phytosanitary 
certificate that is required by the importing country runs the risk of 
having the consignment rejected or destroyed.
    Some commenters viewed our proposed incremental fee increases each 
fiscal year as potentially confusing and burdensome. It was suggested 
that, rather than raise the fees each year, we do so only once, setting 
each of them somewhere in the middle range of our projections. Thus, 
for example, rather than having our fees for commercial shipments rise 
from $99 to $106 over the period covered by the rulemaking, as we 
projected in the June 2007 proposed rule, we might set the fee at $103 
initially and not make any further adjustments.
    We do not agree that the incremental fee increases are confusing or 
burdensome. The regulations will clearly indicate that on set days, the 
fees will increase. Federal Register notices will be issued before the 
fees are increased each year to remind users of the upcoming 
adjustments. Setting the fees years in advance is actually beneficial 
to industry because it allows entities to plan and budget accordingly. 
Setting a single fee for the entire period covered by this rulemaking 
in the middle range of the fee scale, as suggested by the commenters, 
would not allow us to recover our costs fully in the later years.
    One commenter stated that the initial fee increases should be 
implemented over 2 years, rather than 1, to soften their impact on 
industry.
    We agree with this commenter that a 2-year phase-in period will be 
less burdensome to industry than an immediate implementation of the 
full fees, since, under the June 2007 proposed rule, the steepest, and 
thus potentially the most burdensome, proposed fee increases would have 
gone into effect in the first year of the period covered by the 
rulemaking.

[[Page 32393]]

Accordingly, under this final rule, the initial increases and the new 
administrative fee will be phased in over a 2-year period. For reasons 
discussed in greater detail below, the initial fee changes will go into 
effect at the beginning of FY 2010 rather than upon publication of this 
final rule. The fees for FY 2010 will be set at a level reflecting half 
the necessary increase, meaning that the fees will not cover our full 
costs during that fiscal year and that the remaining costs will have to 
be covered using other funds. The full fees will be in place at the 
beginning of FY 2011, which will be the first year in which they will 
provide for full recovery of export program costs.
    A commenter noted that many exporters request multiple and often 
similar phytosanitary certificates at one time. Many exporters that 
ship on a regular basis batch their requests for phytosanitary 
certificates, a practice that makes the certification process easier 
and more economical for APHIS than would be the case when requests are 
submitted singly. Neither the existing nor the proposed fee structures 
recognize these savings, however. It was suggested that when requests 
for certificates are batched, thereby lowering APHIS' processing costs 
per certificate, charging the same fee for each certificate is not 
justified.
    We will not be making any changes to the final rule in response to 
this comment, though we may reconsider this issue in the future. As 
explained in the preamble to the June 2007 proposed rule, we estimate 
our future costs based on data from prior fiscal years, and we 
calculate our user fees by dividing the sum of the costs of providing 
each service by the projected volumes. We base our fee calculations on 
the total estimated volume of certificates endorsed to arrive at the 
same fee for each fee category, regardless of the level of complexity 
of one certification versus another or the similarity of subsequent 
certifications to ones already completed. Adding a new certificate 
category and a correspondingly lower fee for certifications that are 
considered similar to ones already endorsed is not desirable due to our 
averaging approach to rate-setting and is contrary to our goal of 
having a simplified fee structure.
    A commenter stated that if APHIS commits an error that makes it 
necessary to replace an export certificate, the shipper or producer 
should not be liable for any additional fees.
    We agree with this comment. It has been, and will continue to be, 
our practice not to charge additional fees in such cases. We also would 
not charge additional fees when an error by a State or county 
cooperator that has issued a certificate on APHIS' behalf necessitates 
a replacement certificate. If a certificate, whether issued directly by 
APHIS or on behalf of APHIS by a State or county cooperator, needs to 
be replaced for other reasons, e.g., as a result of a request by an 
exporter, the normal fees would apply.
    A commenter questioned the justification for the increases in our 
existing fees, stating that APHIS' costs for providing export 
certification services should decrease over time, rather than increase 
as we are projecting, due to technological advances, such as full 
implementation of the Phytosanitary Certificate Issuance and Tracking 
System (PCIT).
    We do anticipate that the further development and wider use of the 
PCIT will enable us to realize some cost savings. As we noted in the 
June 2007 proposed rule, however, the fee adjustments are needed to 
enable us to recover the full costs of our export certification 
programs. These costs include ones that we may incur for the 
development of new technologies, as well as, among others, salaries and 
benefits, utilities, rents, and office equipment, and information 
systems development, all of which tend to rise from year to year. We 
review our costs and fees periodically, however, and will consider 
future rulemaking to reduce the fees if wider use of the PCIT results 
in sufficient cost savings to justify such a reduction. Any collections 
in excess of our costs will remain in the account to be used only for 
export phytosanitary services. The need for us to maintain a reasonable 
reserve in this account is discussed in greater detail below.
    A commenter stated that, because of the size and magnitude of our 
proposed fees, they should be considered a tax.
    We do not agree with this comment. A tax is money paid by the 
general public to support general Government operations. A user fee is 
money paid for a specific Government service by the beneficiary of that 
service and is designed to recover the costs of providing that service. 
The user fees covered by this rulemaking are paid by exporters who 
benefit from our export certification services, which enable them to 
have their goods allowed entry by the countries of destination. The 
fees, in turn, allow us to recover the full costs of providing these 
services.
    A commenter stated that our export certification user fees should 
be applied only to offset the costs of the issuance of the actual 
certificate and not to cover departmental charges and other program 
costs. Therefore, according to this commenter, the fees should be lower 
than those we are proposing.
    We do not agree with this comment. We have a congressional mandate 
to recover our full program costs by means of user fees. As explained 
in the proposed rule and noted above, these include direct labor and 
various other costs.
    Some commenters stated that information on how we calculated our 
reserve funds was lacking in the proposed rule, while others questioned 
the need for the reserve or viewed the amounts to be set aside as 
excessive.
    We do not agree with these commenters. As we noted in the June 2007 
proposed rule, a reasonable reserve is needed to ensure that we have 
sufficient operating funds in cases of fluctuations in activity volumes 
or unanticipated events that could impact the export certification 
program. After calculating our projected costs for the period covered 
by this rulemaking using prior year costs, added inflationary factors, 
and planned new costs, we then added in the cost of maintaining that 
reserve. We anticipate that our user fees will generate a reserve fund 
of 5 percent per year, an amount that will provide for the maintenance 
of up to 3 to 5 months' operating expenses. We intend to monitor the 
reserve balance closely and propose adjustments in our fees as 
necessary to bring these user fees into line with our actual program 
costs. If we determine that any fees are too high and are contributing 
to unreasonably high reserve levels, we will undertake rulemaking to 
lower the fees as quickly as possible through our required rulemaking 
process. Conversely, if it becomes necessary to increase any fees 
because reserve levels are being drawn too low, we will undertake 
rulemaking to increase the fees.
    A large number of commenters raised issues specific to the new 
administrative fee for certificates issued by State or county 
cooperators on APHIS' behalf. Commenters questioned the justification 
for the new fee and stated that the amount was too high, having been 
calculated using erroneous data on volumes. Others expressed concern 
over the financial and other burdens that may be faced by State and 
county governments in collecting the fees from exporters and remitting 
them to APHIS, the mechanics of the collection and remittance 
processes, and the legal and constitutional authority of the States and 
counties to collect such fees on behalf of APHIS.
    Some commenters questioned the justification for this new fee on 
the grounds that most of the administrative costs of issuing export 
certificates are

[[Page 32394]]

already borne by States or counties and that APHIS does not provide 
significant oversight of the process of issuing phytosanitary 
certificates. In the view of these commenters, the administrative costs 
to APHIS for the issuance of export certificates on its behalf by State 
and county cooperators were not of sufficient magnitude to justify the 
fee.
    The administrative fee is intended to cover the direct labor and 
administrative support costs incurred by APHIS when export certificates 
are issued on its behalf by State and county cooperators. 
Administrative support costs generally include the following: Local 
clerical and administrative activities, indirect labor hours 
(supervision of personnel and time spent doing work that is not 
directly connected with the service but which is nonetheless 
necessary); travel and transportation for personnel; supplies, 
equipment, and other necessary items; and training. Agency overhead is 
the pro rata share, attributable to a particular service of the 
management and support costs for all Agency activities. Included are 
the costs of providing budget and accounting services (tracking 
volumes, rate setting, policy etc.), management support, including the 
Administrator's office and support at the regional level, personnel 
services, public information service, and liaison with Congress. 
Additional costs that pertain specifically to phytosanitary 
certificates issued on APHIS' behalf by State and county cooperators 
include the costs APHIS incurs in training State and county personnel 
to issue the certificates, in maintaining the export requirement 
database (a database containing the shipping requirements of foreign 
countries, which serves as a resource for certifying officials and U.S. 
exporters), and in conducting reviews of the program.
    A couple of commenters suggested that in instances where State or 
county fees would apply in addition to the APHIS administrative fee, 
APHIS should collect both fees and then reimburse the State or county 
for its portion on a quarterly or monthly basis. The commenters 
suggested that such a practice would help to minimize confusion and 
duplication of effort on the part of exporters, who would then only 
receive one invoice per certificate issued.
    This functionality is now available within the PCIT. Additional 
information may be obtained from the PPQ program operations personnel 
listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT.
    Some commenters stated that our volume estimates for certificates 
issued by State and county cooperators appeared to be low. The proposed 
rule projected that a lower number of certificates would be issued by 
State and county cooperators in 2007 than the report by Kadix Systems, 
discussed in the June 2007 proposed rule, stated were actually issued 
in 2003. The commenters believed that the Kadix figure is a more 
accurate measure of the number of certificates issued by State and 
county cooperators than are our volume estimates. If the actual volumes 
are significantly higher than our estimates, the commenters stated, 
then the actual revenues that will accrue to APHIS as a result of these 
fees will also be considerably higher than what we projected. 
Therefore, we should set the administrative fee at a lower level.
    After considering these comments, we reviewed our data in order to 
identify true export certificate user fee costs and volumes. We used 
prior year accounting data from the Financial Foundation Information 
System and the Financial Data Warehouse/Brio reports, which track and 
record expenses that support the Phytosanitary Export Certificate user 
fee program. We then added to those costs any planned new source 
funding, such as new staffing costs (plus support costs for new 
staffing) and automation initiatives (e.g., further development of the 
PCIT and the export requirement database); training; and the pro rata 
share of the distributable accounts such as agency overhead, 
departmental charges, rent, economic assumptions, and a reasonable 
amount to be recovered in the reserve account. We then split our total 
costs for each fiscal year into each individual certification category. 
We based our projected volumes for certificates issued by State and 
county cooperators in FY 2007 on Work Accomplishment Data System data, 
which were provided by PPQ's Eastern and Western regional offices. Our 
projections allowed for a general trade increase of 1 percent each 
year. We assumed that 87 percent of customers, on average, will use the 
PCIT and that 13 percent will not. We split the volumes based on these 
percentages and divided the total costs by the volumes to calculate the 
administrative fee for phytosanitary certificates issued by States and 
counties using the PCIT and those not using the system.
    We also determined, as a result of our review, that the number of 
State and county-issued Federal phytosanitary certificates had been 
underestimated and that, consequently, the proposed administrative fee 
was too high. We have therefore recalculated the administrative fee 
based on a revised State/county volume estimate of 367,137. For those 
States and counties issuing phytosanitary certificates through the 
PCIT, the administrative fee will initially be $3 per certificate under 
the 2-year phase-in and will subsequently rise to $6 in FYs 2011 and 
2012. For those States and counties issuing paper phytosanitary 
certificates, the administrative fee will be $6 per certificate 
initially and will subsequently rise to $12 in FYs 2011 and 2012. Since 
all phytosanitary certificates issued directly by APHIS must be issued 
through the PCIT, the two-level administrative fee applies only to 
State- and county-issued export certificates.
    The reason for adopting a two-tiered fee structure is because there 
are many more costs associated with paper phytosanitary certificates 
than there are with those issued electronically through the PCIT. Paper 
phytosanitary certificates entail additional costs for printing, 
distributing, controlling, and reviewing the paper certificates, as 
well as billing, collection, recordkeeping, storage, and archiving. On 
the other hand, PCIT-issued phytosanitary certificates will be 
maintained in the automated system, with issuance, collection, and 
accounting functions all handled at the same time. This process is much 
more cost-effective than issuing paper certificates.
    Some commenters suggested that the new administrative fee is 
unjustified because it shifts costs from APHIS to States and counties.
    Collecting the new administrative fee and remitting it to APHIS 
could entail some new administrative and recordkeeping costs for State 
and county governments, especially for those that do not use the PCIT. 
We anticipate, however, that in most cases, these costs will ultimately 
be recovered from exporters--the users and beneficiaries of our export 
services--in the form of increased State or county user fees.
    Some representatives of State and county governments stated that 
collecting the administrative fee on APHIS' behalf could place a 
significant financial burden on States and counties, the magnitude of 
which we underestimated. Some States and counties, according to their 
representatives, do not have adequate personnel or funds to collect the 
fees.
    While we recognize that there could be some additional burden on 
States and counties, States and counties can avoid the costs associated 
with collection activity by using the PCIT. The PCIT provides the 
States and counties with a more efficient and cost-effective means of 
collecting, tracking, and remitting the fees than does the use of paper 
certificates.

[[Page 32395]]

    Some commenters indicated that States and counties may also lack 
mechanisms for tracking and collecting the administrative fee and 
remitting the revenues to APHIS. It was also stated that information 
was lacking in the proposed rule regarding how these processes will 
work. One commenter cited in particular a lack of detail on allowable 
time intervals for States or counties to remit fees to APHIS.
    The June 2007 proposed rule, in Sec.  354.3(g)(3)(i), indicated 
that the fee may be remitted directly to APHIS by the exporter through 
the PCIT, or, if the PCIT is not used, the State or county issuing the 
export certificate is responsible for collecting the administrative fee 
and remitting it monthly to APHIS at the address given.
    A commenter stated that the proposed rule was unclear about whether 
State or county cooperators issuing paper certificates would be charged 
by APHIS for blocks of certificates.
    The instructions for remittance to APHIS by States and counties of 
fees collected on APHIS' behalf for paper certificates, contained in 
Sec.  354.3(g)(3) of the proposed rule, did not distinguish between 
remittances for individual certificates and blocks of certificates. 
States or counties may issue blocks of paper export certificates and 
charge the exporter for them in accordance with their own regulations.
    A commenter suggested that we should either delay imposing the 
administrative fee for certificates issued by State and county 
cooperators until the PCIT is in wide use or we should use the 
submitted copies of Federal phytosanitary certificates to invoice 
shippers directly for the proposed fee.
    We do not agree with this comment. The PCIT has been available for 
over 2 years, and its use is now mandatory for all APHIS-issued 
phytosanitary certificates. Over 20 percent of all phytosanitary 
certificates issued in 2007 were issued through the PCIT. The 
advantages offered by the system should provide ample incentive for all 
States and counties to adopt it.
    Some commenters discussed issues of legal and/or constitutional 
authority in relation to the administrative fee. There are States and 
counties, it was suggested, that may not have the legal authority to 
collect the administrative fee on behalf of a Federal agency. Changes 
to State or county laws or regulations may be needed, in such cases, to 
allow for such collection activity. In addition, the States and 
counties are operating under memoranda of understanding with APHIS that 
do not direct them to collect the fees. One commenter questioned 
whether APHIS has the constitutional authority to mandate that a State 
or county charge a particular amount for an export certificate.
    We will not be making any changes to the final rule in response to 
these comments. States and counties would not have to change their laws 
or regulations if the certificate is issued through the PCIT and the 
exporter can pay the administrative fee directly to APHIS. In addition, 
APHIS has been reaching out to State and county governments on this 
issue for more than 4 years in order to give those governments adequate 
time to prepare for the implementation of this new fee. We will 
continue to work with States and counties to help them overcome any 
legal hurdles to implementation.
    A number of commenters raised issues related to the effect of the 
proposed rule on specific industries. Among those who commented were 
representatives of producers and exporters of such products as table 
grapes and tree fruit, hardwood, cotton, seeds, grain and oilseed, and 
southern pine lumber.
    Some commenters stated that the industries they represented would 
be burdened more than others by the fee adjustments. It was suggested 
that California-based producers and exporters of table grapes and tree 
fruit would be particularly affected by the new administrative fee 
because those are the leading commodities exported from the State. A 
representative of the hardwood industry stated that hardwood exporters 
do not have the option of sending bulk shipments, unlike exporters of 
other agricultural commodities, due to the weight of the shipments and 
the phytosanitary requirements of foreign countries. The increase in 
the cost per container resulting from the adjusted fees, it was stated, 
would greatly increase the costs of doing business for hardwood 
exporters.
    We do not agree with these comments. It is to be expected that 
producers and exporters of commodities such as table grapes and tree 
fruit, who use our export services frequently, will account for a 
larger share of the fees we collect than those that use the services 
less frequently. Neither that industry nor the hardwood industry is 
being singled out, however. The fees are the same for all individuals 
and/or entities and are designed to enable us to recover the full costs 
of providing the export certification services that both the table 
grapes and tree fruit and the hardwood industry use and from which they 
both benefit.
    It was stated that export certification fees for cotton should not 
be raised. Commenters who took this position believed that the cotton 
industry's self-inspection programs justify keeping the fees as they 
are. It was also suggested that APHIS now has only a limited role in 
the certification procedure for cotton exports. The current compliance 
agreement between the industry and APHIS has transferred a significant 
amount of the workload and the costs from the agency to the industry. 
These transfers of workload and costs, according to the commenters, 
should be considered by APHIS in setting the fees.
    As noted earlier in this document, voluntary compliance agreements 
do not eliminate the labor and other costs APHIS incurs in reviewing 
certificates and overseeing and administering the export program. We 
still need to recover those costs, whether or not a compliance 
agreement is in effect.
    A commenter stated that the costs we incur for certification 
programs for cotton exports could be adequately managed if APHIS would 
direct the current export certification user fees collected from the 
cotton industry to develop the PCIT further.
    We are currently working on improving and expanding the 
capabilities of the PCIT so that it can be of greater benefit to all 
users.
    Commenters representing the seed industry stated that entities that 
are involved in the National Seed Health System or that use the PCIT 
should pay lower fees than other entities because both those programs 
help increase efficiency and cut costs for APHIS.
    It is true that the National Seed Health System and the PCIT help 
increase efficiency and cut costs. We will consider this comment and 
may address the issue again in future rulemaking.
    Representatives of the grain and oilseed industries stated that the 
export user fee adjustments should not apply to their commodities 
because most of the costs of the sampling, examination, and 
documentation needed to complete phytosanitary certification are 
provided for under separate user fees paid to USDA's Grain Inspection, 
Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA).
    It is true that exporters of these commodities pay separate user 
fees to GIPSA and that GIPSA performs the majority of the work required 
to complete phytosanitary certification. At the present time, however, 
we do not have the ability to isolate the costs that remain for APHIS 
after GIPSA's work is performed and cannot exempt any specific 
industries or businesses from our user fee adjustments. Although we 
have attempted to minimize the cost of

[[Page 32396]]

our services, thereby keeping APHIS user fees at the lowest possible 
level, allowing such exemptions could result in shortfalls and service 
cutbacks. However, we will take these comments under consideration and 
reassess our fees as needed.
    A commenter advocated eliminating phytosanitary inspections for 
southern pine lumber, and adopting the same policy as we use with heat 
treatment certificates for lumber destined for European Union 
countries.
    Such inspections are performed to meet the requirements of the 
importing countries rather than those of APHIS. APHIS is not able to 
drop or change these inspection requirements unilaterally.
    Some commenters asserted that the June 2007 proposed rule did not 
provide enough information on how we calculated our projected costs and 
fees. One commenter stated that not enough information was presented in 
the proposed rule to determine which of 12 new cost categories cited by 
the Kadix report were included in determining our base costs. Another 
commenter cited a lack of information on costs attributable to new 
staffing and information technology initiatives. It was suggested that 
users might be more receptive to new or increased user fees if they 
could a see more detailed breakdown of our costs.
    We do not agree with this comment. The SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION 
section of the June 2007 proposed rule contained an extensive 
discussion of our user fee accounting procedures. This discussion 
included an explanation of the types of program costs we incur and our 
procedures for identifying prior year costs and projecting future 
costs. We also included a table that contained estimated costs, broken 
down by category, for FY 2007.
    A commenter stated that the process of developing the June 2007 
proposed rule was flawed. Industry input was lacking, according to this 
commenter, and the process as a whole should have been more 
transparent.
    We have followed our standard rulemaking process, including 
allowing stakeholders an opportunity to comment on our proposed 
changes. This final rule reflects our consideration of stakeholders' 
comments.

Miscellaneous

    The June 2007 proposed rule contained projected export 
certification user fees for FYs 2007 through 2012. Because FY 2009 is 
more than half complete, this final rule contains projected fees for 
the period from FY 2010 through FY 2012. We considered beginning the 
phase-in of the new fees prior to October 1, 2009, which marks the 
beginning of FY 2010, and then raising the fees to the full amount on 
that date. We decided against that alternative, however, because it 
would have entailed two fee increases within a relatively short time 
period. We estimate the opportunity loss of beginning the phase-in of 
the new fees on October 1, 2009, as opposed to earlier, to be less than 
2.9 percent of the program's operational value, an amount we do not 
consider significant enough to warrant the possible confusion that 
increasing the fees twice within a short period of time could cause. 
The tables in Sec.  354.3(g) in this final rule have been revised 
accordingly, as have our revenue projections in the economic summary 
below and in the full economic analysis.
    Additionally, in this final rule, Sec.  354.3(h), which lists 
circumstances under which APHIS will issue refunds of, or credits for, 
user fees to shippers who pay for blocks of export certificates to 
cover commercial shipments, is removed and reserved. As noted above, we 
are now using the PCIT whenever we issue export certificates directly 
to shippers and thus are no longer issuing blocks of paper 
certificates.
    Therefore, for the reasons given in the proposed rule and in this 
document, we are adopting the proposed rule as a final rule, with the 
changes discussed in this document.

Executive Order 12866 and Regulatory Flexibility Act

    This rule has been reviewed under Executive Order 12866. The rule 
has been determined to be significant for the purposes of Executive 
Order 12866 and, therefore, has been reviewed by the Office of 
Management and Budget.
    We have prepared an economic analysis for this rule. The economic 
analysis provides a cost-benefit analysis, as required by Executive 
Order 12866, and a final regulatory flexibility analysis that examines 
the potential economic effects of this rule on small entities, as 
required by the Regulatory Flexibility Act. The economic analysis is 
summarized below. Copies of the full analysis are available on the 
Regulations.gov Web site (see footnote 1 in this document for a link to 
Regulations.gov) or by contacting the people listed under FOR FURTHER 
INFORMATION CONTACT.
    Under this rule, the user fee for the certification of commercial 
or re-export shipments will increase from $50 to $77 in FY 2010. With 
additional yearly adjustments, the fee will increase to $104 in FY 2011 
and $106 in FY 2012. This rule will also increase the user fee for low-
value commercial or re-export shipments (valued at less than $1,250) 
and noncommercial shipments, from $23 to $42 in FY 2010, and through 
yearly increases, to $60 in FY 2011 and $61 in FY 2012. The user fee 
for a replacement certificate will increase from $7 to $11 in FY 2010 
and then to $15 in subsequent years. In addition, this rule will 
establish an administrative user fee for each certificate issued on 
behalf of APHIS by a U.S. State or county. This fee for FY 2010 will be 
set at $3 when a certificate is issued through the PCIT and at $6 for a 
paper certificate. These fees will rise to $6 and $12, respectively, 
the following year.
    The changes set forth in this rule are intended to recover the full 
costs of providing our export certification services, which are 
currently being provided for less than their actual costs. As noted 
earlier, our export user fees have not been adjusted since 1996. The 
volume of exports of agricultural commodities has been growing since 
then. More and more foreign countries are requiring phytosanitary 
certification for the products they import, and their phytosanitary 
requirements are becoming increasingly numerous and complex. All of 
these factors contribute to increasing the costs to APHIS of providing 
these services. If APHIS were to continue to collect user fees using 
the rates in effect prior to this rulemaking, over the time period 
covered by this rule, total collections would be approximately $25 
million, which is nearly $33 million below the level of the projected 
costs of the program over that timeframe. This difference represents 
the shortfall in cost recovery that would occur absent the fee changes.
    The export certification services covered in this rule are provided 
to exporters of plants and plant products. These exporters include 
those entities shipping plants and plant products to foreign 
destinations for commercial as well as noncommercial purposes. These 
exporters will be affected by this rule. In addition, State and county 
governments providing export certification services will be affected.
    A wide variety of commodities are potentially eligible for 
certification under the APHIS export certification program. Eligibility 
requirements vary by commodity and, in some cases, by the degree of 
processing or treatment needed. Eligible commodities generally include 
live plants, fresh and some dried fruits, vegetables and nuts, 
unroasted coffee, cereal grains, milling products, oil seeds, raw 
sugar, tobacco, wood, and cotton. We cannot place a specific value on 
the commodities that have been certified for export. However,

[[Page 32397]]

in 2007, exports of the covered commodity categories were valued at 
nearly $57 billion. In addition, products in these commodity categories 
valued at nearly $2 billion were re-exported in 2007.
    The user fee increases in this rule should increase collections in 
each year covered. The increased revenues will go to cover the 
projected costs of administering the program and to build a reserve to 
ensure that we have sufficient operating funds in cases of program 
cessation or fluctuations in activity volumes. The initial fee 
increases cover cost increases that have occurred since the last 
revision of these fees, in addition to some of the cost increases 
expected to occur in FY 2010. In FY 2012, the new fees for commercial 
and re-export certification could generate $9.2 million in additional 
revenue; the new fees for noncommercial and low-value commercial and 
re-export certification could generate $333,000 in additional revenue; 
the new fee for replacing any certificate could generate $58,000 in 
additional revenue; and the new fee for administering State- and 
county-issued certificates could generate an additional $2.6 million in 
revenue.
    To the extent that the changes in user fees impact exporters' 
operational costs, any entity that utilizes APHIS' export certification 
services subject to user fees will be impacted. The degree to which any 
entity may be affected depends on its market power (the ability to 
which costs can be either absorbed or passed on to buyers). While the 
lack of information on profit margins and operational expenses of the 
affected entities and the supply responsiveness of the affected 
industries prevents the precise prediction of the scale of impacts, 
some conclusions on overall impacts to domestic and international 
commerce can be drawn.
    The percentage increases in user fees will be large. In all cases, 
the increases will at least double the existing user fees by FY 2012. 
About one-half of the increases will occur in FY 2010. If the increase 
in user fees cannot be passed on, the profit margins of some entities 
may decline as user fees are increased. However, these fees have not 
been updated since 1996, and there are now considerable differences 
between the true costs of providing export certification services and 
the user fees APHIS has been charging. When a user fee does not cover 
all associated costs, those costs are shifted away from those receiving 
and benefiting from the service and onto APHIS, and thus, ultimately, 
to the taxpayer.
    As noted above, this rule will increase the user fee for commercial 
export and re-export certification from $50 to $77 in FY 2010. 
Subsequent increases will raise the fee to $106 by FY 2012. These 
changes could generate additional annual collections of $9.2 million in 
FY 2012. To put these numbers in perspective, this fee category is 
projected to generate total collections of $17.3 million in FY 2012. 
This equates to less than 0.03 percent of the $58 billion in eligible 
commodities that were exported or re-exported in 2007.
    Exporters of plants and plant products are the domestic entities 
most affected by this rule. Exporters of plants and plant products are 
part of the wholesale trade sector of the U.S. economy. These entities 
either sell goods on their own account (export merchants) or arrange 
for the sale of goods owned by others (export agents and brokers). 
While the increase in the commercial export and re-export certification 
fee is large in percentage terms, it is very small relative to the 
revenues generated by exporters of plants and plant products. This is 
evident from the average firm revenues for some of the main industries 
that will be affected by the rule. By this measure the impact of the 
fee increases on entities should be limited. Exporters of wood fall 
under the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) code 
423310, ``Lumber, plywood, millwork, and wood panel merchant 
wholesalers.'' The average firm in this category had sales of $11.6 
million in 2002. Exporters of fruits and vegetables fall under NAICS 
code 424480, ``Fresh fruit and vegetable merchant wholesalers.'' The 
average firm in this category had sales of $10 million in 2002. 
Exporters of grains, such as corn, wheat, oats, barley, and unpolished 
rice, dry beans, and soybeans fall under NAICS code 424510, ``Grain and 
field bean merchant wholesalers.'' The average firm in this category 
had sales of $28 million in 2002. Exporters of leaf tobacco are covered 
under NAICS code 4245902, ``Leaf tobacco merchant wholesalers.'' The 
average firm in this category had sales of $8.1 million in 2002. 
Exporters of cotton are under NAICS code 4245904, ``Cotton merchant 
wholesalers.'' The average firm in this category had sales of $35.3 
million in 2002. Exporters of plant seeds and plant bulbs are under 
NAICS code 424910, ``Farm supplies merchant wholesalers.'' The average 
firm in this category had sales of $11 million. Exporters of flowers 
and nursery stock are under NAICS code 424930, ``Flower, nursery stock, 
and florists' supplies merchant wholesalers.'' The average firm in this 
category had sales of $2.4 million in 2002. Exporters of various other 
farm product raw materials, such as Christmas trees, fall under NAICS 
code 4249904, ``Other nondurable goods merchant wholesalers.'' The 
average firm in this category had sales of $2.2 million in 2002.
    The total impact of the fee increases on an exporter will be 
directly proportional to their participation in international trade. 
The greater the number of internationally shipped consignments in need 
of certification, the more export certification fees will be incurred 
to facilitate that movement.
    Consignments presented for export certification range widely in 
value and shipment size, even within the same general commodity 
classification. Therefore, the impact of the fee increases on specific 
commodity exports cannot be usefully generalized. The impact will vary 
depending on the size and value of the consignment. An exporter seeking 
certification for a consignment that comprises an entire loaded 
container ship will be less impacted than one seeking certification for 
a single shipping container of the same commodity. With a higher-valued 
commodity, the fee increase will be smaller relative to the value of 
the consignment than it will be for a lower-valued commodity of the 
same size shipment.
    This fee will increase by a total of 108 percent over the covered 
period, but the total dollar value of the fee increase, $56, represents 
a small fraction of the value of many consignments. To put the fee 
increase in perspective, a few commodity examples based on single 
container consignments are presented below. In order to present 
consistent examples, we assume that a shipment presented for 
certification is represented by the capacity of a single shipping 
container. It should be noted that in many cases this will give a 
significant overestimate of the impact of the fee changes on a given 
shipment as many agricultural products are shipped in bulk 
consignments. Bulk carriers have capacities of 10 to 1,000 or more 
times that of a single shipping container. Certification fees incurred 
and their significance as part of the overall costs of exporting may be 
reduced by consolidating formerly multiple consignments into single 
consignments for certification.
    A 40' by 9'6'' shipping container has a capacity of about 26,040 
kilograms (kg) or 76.6 cubic meters (m\3\). In 2006, the average value 
of corn shipments from the U.S. was $0.12 per kg. Therefore, a 26,040 
kg shipment of corn

[[Page 32398]]

would have been valued at $3,222. The total fee increase over the 
entire time period covered in this rule represents 1.7 percent of this 
value. In 2006, the average value of wheat exports from the United 
States was $0.18 per kg. Thus, a 26,040 kg shipment would have been 
valued at $4,707. The total fee increase over the entire time period 
covered in this rule represents 1.2 percent of this value. The average 
value of fresh grapes exported from the United States in 2006 was $1.79 
per kg. Therefore, a half-container, or 13,020 kg, shipment of grapes 
(the value is calculated in this manner due to the packaging 
requirements for transporting fresh grapes), would have been valued at 
$23,241. The total fee increase over the entire time period covered in 
this rule represents 0.2 percent of this value. In 2006, the average 
value of logs exported from the United States was $150.16 per m\3\. 
Therefore, a 76.6 m\3\ shipment of logs would have been valued at 
$11,502. The total fee increase over the time period covered in this 
rule represents 0.5 percent of this value. The average value of 
railroad crossties exported from the United States in 2006 was $93.83 
per m\3\. Thus, a 76.6 m\3\ shipment of crossties would have been 
valued at of $7,187. The total fee increase over the time period 
covered in this rule represents 0.8 percent of this value. The average 
value of sawn lumber exported from the United States in 2006 was 
$421.29 per m\3\. Therefore, a 76.6 m\3\ shipment of sawn lumber would 
have been valued at $32,271. The total fee increase over the time 
period covered in this rule represents 0.17 percent of this value.
    If a commercial export or re-export shipment is valued at less than 
$1,250, the fee for certification will increase in FY 2010 from $23 to 
$42. The new fee will represent at least 3.3 percent of the value of 
the shipment. The impact of the fee increase may be mitigated to the 
degree that multiple low-value shipments can be consolidated into 
single shipments for certification.
    This rule will increase the user fee for noncommercial export and 
re-export certification from $23 to $42 in FY 2010, to $60 in FY 2011, 
and to $61 by FY 2012. Combined with the changes for low-value 
commercial shipments (valued at less than $1,250), these changes could 
generate additional annual collections of about $333,000 in FY 2012. 
These fees will increase by a total of 161 percent. However, it is 
estimated that only about 8,500 of these certificates are issued 
annually.
    This rule will increase the user fee for replacing any export 
certificate from $7 to $11 in FY 2010 and to $15 in FYs 2011 and 2012. 
These changes could generate additional annual collections of about 
$58,000. While this increase is a doubling of the fee, its impact 
should be small, as there are fewer than 8,000 certificates replaced 
annually.
    The Regulatory Flexibility Act requires that agencies specifically 
consider the economic impact of their rules on small entities. As we 
have previously noted, exporters of plants and plant products are the 
domestic entities most affected by this rule and are part of the 
wholesale trade sector of the U.S. economy. The overwhelming majority 
of U.S. wholesalers of plants and plant products (ranging from 96 to 99 
percent for the various NAICS categories discussed above) fall under 
the SBA's definition of small entities. The total impact of the changes 
contained in this rule should be small for these entities. The fee 
changes represent a tiny fraction of the value of the shipments of 
plants and plant products. Exports and re-exports of eligible 
commodities were valued at more than $58 billion in 2007, as noted 
previously. By contrast, the total increase in annual collections from 
user fees in this rule will be about $12 million by FY 2012.
    While the increases in the fees are large in percentage terms, they 
are small relative to the revenues generated by wholesalers of plants 
and plant products. This is evident from the average revenues of firms 
with fewer than 100 employees in some of the main industries that will 
be affected by the rule. By this measure, the impact of the fee 
increases on entities should be limited. About 58 percent of lumber 
wholesalers (NAICS 423310) had between 5 and 100 employees in 2002. 
Average annual sales by these firms were $9.8 million. About 37 percent 
had between 5 and 20 employees and average annual sales of about $5 
million. About 95 percent of fresh fruit and vegetable wholesalers 
(NAICS 424480) had fewer than 100 employees in 2002. Average annual 
sales by these firms were $7.1 million. About 74 percent had fewer than 
20 employees and average annual sales of about $4 million. About 98 
percent of grain and field bean wholesalers (NAICS 424510) had fewer 
than 100 employees in 2002. Average annual sales by these firms were 
$11.9 million. About 82 percent had fewer than 20 employees and average 
annual sales of $6.5 million. About 85 percent of leaf tobacco 
wholesalers (NAICS 4245902) had fewer than 10 employees in 2002. 
Average annual sales by these firms were $3.1 million. About 80 percent 
of cotton wholesalers (NAICS 4245904) had fewer than 10 employees in 
2002. Average annual sales by these firms were $10.2 million. About 69 
percent of farm supplies wholesalers (NAICS 424910) had fewer than 10 
employees in 2002. Average annual sales by these firms were $1.7 
million. Average annual sales of flowers and florist supplies 
wholesalers (NAICS 424930) were $2.7 million in 2002. About 83 percent 
of other nondurable goods wholesalers (NAICS 4249904) had fewer than 10 
employees in 2002. Average annual sales by these firms were $976,000. 
Another 6 percent of these firms had from 20 to 99 employees. Average 
annual sales by these firms in 2002 were $11 million.
    This rule will impose an administrative user fee for each 
certificate issued on behalf of APHIS by a State or county. This fee 
will be set at $3 when a certificate is issued through the PCIT in FY 
2010 and at $6 in FYs 2011 and 2012. The fee for a paper certificate 
will be $6 in FY 2010 and $12 thereafter. States and counties issue a 
significant percentage of the phytosanitary certificates written. 
APHIS' activities support the State and county operations, as well as 
nationwide export certification functions. Because we have not been 
charging a user fee for such certificates, we have not been recovering 
our costs for printing, distributing, and tracking the paper 
certificates that we provide to the States and counties to issue on our 
behalf or our associated overhead costs. The users who obtain export 
certification from a State or county only pay for the State or county's 
costs to deliver the certificate, and nothing to support the program at 
the Federal level.
    These new administrative fees could generate additional annual 
collections of $2.6 million in FYs 2011 and 2102. States and counties 
that do not use the PCIT are likely to incur administrative and 
recordkeeping costs in collecting the administrative fees associated 
with paper certificates and remitting them to APHIS. To the extent that 
a State or county increases the fees it charges to incorporate the 
administrative fee and passes the cost on to exporters, it will shift 
the burden of the fee to the user. However, the additional costs to 
States and counties should be low because, in most cases, mechanisms 
are already in place for collecting export certification fees. In 
addition, the PCIT is available for use by States and counties to issue 
certificates, thus enabling them to avoid the administrative and 
recordkeeping costs referred to above.
    Any fee charged for export certification services performed by a

[[Page 32399]]

State or county is determined by the individual State or county 
performing the service. Thirty-five States have charges for issuing 
certificates. Twelve States have fee structures that duplicate APHIS' 
fee structure. Currently, States and counties charge from $0 to $212 
for a commercial certificate, with the average charge about $28; and 
from $0 to $50 for a noncommercial certificate, with the average charge 
about $19. States and counties currently charge from $0 to $75, with 
the average charge about $16, to replace a commercial certificate, and 
from $0 to $50, with an average of about $15, to replace a 
noncommercial certificate. These fees could change following the 
implementation of this rule to incorporate the Federal administrative 
fee.
    About 70 percent of certificates issued in California in 2003 were 
written in eight counties, six of which have rate structures currently 
higher than those of APHIS. Only 10 States and 2 California counties do 
not have current legislative authority to charge for certificates. 
These 10 States and 2 counties account for approximately one-tenth of 
the certificates issued by States and counties in a given year.
    In assessing the need for this rule, we considered alternatives to 
the chosen course of action. These alternatives are discussed below.
    One alternative to this rule would have been to leave the 
regulations unchanged. In this case, the fees would remain unchanged. 
However, these fees were last updated in 1996 and no longer recover the 
full cost of providing certification services. Routine increases in the 
cost of doing business, such as inflation, replacing equipment, and 
maintaining databases, have occurred since the last update, and volumes 
have increased as well. If APHIS were to continue to collect user fees 
at the current rates in FY 2010 through FY 2012, total collections 
would be about $33 million short of projected program costs over that 
period. Therefore, this alternative was rejected.
    Another alternative to this rule would have been not to add an 
administrative user fee for each certificate issued on behalf of APHIS 
by a U.S. State or county official. However, APHIS' activities support 
the State and county operations, as well as the national export 
certification program. The costs to APHIS that are associated with 
State- and county-issued certificates have not been recovered up to 
now. The users who obtain export certification from a State or county 
only pay for the State or county's costs, and nothing to support the 
program at the national level. Therefore, this alternative was not 
pursued.

Executive Order 12372

    This program/activity is listed in the Catalog of Federal Domestic 
Assistance under No. 10.025 and is subject to Executive Order 12372, 
which requires intergovernmental consultation with State and local 
officials. (See 7 CFR part 3015, subpart V.)

Executive Order 12988

    This final rule has been reviewed under Executive Order 12988, 
Civil Justice Reform. This rule: (1) Preempts all State and local laws 
and regulations that are inconsistent with this rule; (2) has no 
retroactive effect; and (3) does not require administrative proceedings 
before parties may file suit in court challenging this rule.

Paperwork Reduction Act

    This final rule contains no information collection or recordkeeping 
requirements under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501 
et seq.).

List of Subjects in 7 CFR Part 354

    Animal diseases, Exports, Government employees, Imports, Plant 
diseases and pests, Quarantine, Reporting and recordkeeping 
requirements, Travel and transportation expenses.


0
Accordingly, we are amending 7 CFR part 354 as follows:

PART 354--OVERTIME SERVICES RELATING TO IMPORTS AND EXPORTS; AND 
USER FEES

0
1. The authority citation for part 354 continues to read as follows:

    Authority: 7 U.S.C. 7701-7772, 7781-7786, and 8301-8317; 21 
U.S.C. 136 and 136a; 49 U.S.C. 80503; 7 CFR 2.22, 2.80, and 371.3.


0
2. Section 354.3 is amended as follows:
0
a. In paragraph (a), by removing the definitions of export certificate 
for processed plant products, phytosanitary certificate, and 
phytosanitary certificate for reexport, and adding a new definition of 
certificate, in alphabetical order, to read as set forth below.
0
b. In paragraph (g), by removing paragraphs (g)(2) and (g)(5); by 
redesignating paragraphs (g)(3) and (g)(4) as (g)(4) and (g)(5), 
respectively; and by revising paragraph (g)(1) and adding new 
paragraphs (g)(2) and (g)(3) to read as set forth below.
0
c. By removing and reserving paragraph (h).


Sec.  354.3  User fees for certain international services.

    (a) * * *
* * * * *
    Certificate. Any certificate issued by or on behalf of APHIS 
describing the condition of a shipment of plants or plant products for 
export, including but not limited to Phytosanitary Certificate (PPQ 
Form 577), Export Certificate for Processed Plant Products (PPQ Form 
578), and Phytosanitary Certificate for Reexport (PPQ Form 579).
* * * * *
    (g) * * *
    (1) For each certificate issued by APHIS personnel, the recipient 
must pay the applicable AQI user fee at the time and place the 
certificate is issued.
    (2) When the work necessary for the issuance of a certificate is 
performed by APHIS personnel on a Sunday or holiday, or at any other 
time outside the regular tour of duty of the APHIS personnel issuing 
the certificate, in addition to the applicable user fee, the recipient 
must pay the applicable overtime rate in accordance with Sec.  354.1.
    (3)(i) Each exporter who receives a certificate issued on behalf of 
APHIS by a designated State or county inspector must pay an 
administrative user fee, as shown in the following table. The 
administrative fee can be remitted by the exporter directly to APHIS 
through the Phytosanitary Certificate Issuance and Tracking System 
(PCIT), provided that the exporter has a PCIT account and submits the 
application for the export certificate through the PCIT. If the PCIT is 
not used, the State or county issuing the certificate is responsible 
for collecting the fee and remitting it monthly to the U.S. Bank, 
United States Department of Agriculture, APHIS, AQI, P.O. Box 979043, 
St. Louis, MO 63197-9000.

[[Page 32400]]



------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                     Amount per shipment
                                                   ---------------------
                  Effective dates                               PCIT not
                                                    PCIT used     used
------------------------------------------------------------------------
October 1, 2009, through September 30, 2010.......         $3         $6
October 1, 2010, through September 30, 2011.......          6         12
Beginning October 1, 2011.........................          6         12
------------------------------------------------------------------------

     (ii) The AQI user fees for an export or reexport certificate for a 
commercial shipment are shown in the following table.

------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                 Amount
                       Effective dates                            per
                                                                shipment
------------------------------------------------------------------------
October 1, 2009, through September 30, 2010..................        $77
October 1, 2010, through September 30, 2011..................        104
Beginning October 1, 2011....................................        106
------------------------------------------------------------------------

     (iii) The AQI user fees for an export or reexport certificate for 
a low-value commercial shipment are shown in the following table. A 
commercial shipment is a low-value commercial shipment if the items 
being shipped are identical to those identified on the certificate; the 
shipment is accompanied by an invoice which states that the items being 
shipped are worth less than $1,250; and the shipper requests that the 
user fee charged be based on the low value of the shipment.

------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                 Amount
                       Effective dates                            per
                                                                shipment
------------------------------------------------------------------------
October 1, 2009, through September 30, 2010..................        $42
October 1, 2010, through September 30, 2011..................         60
Beginning October 1, 2011....................................         61
------------------------------------------------------------------------

     (iv) The AQI user fees for an export or reexport certificate for a 
noncommercial shipment are shown in the following table.

------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                 Amount
                       Effective dates                            per
                                                                shipment
------------------------------------------------------------------------
October 1, 2009, through September 30, 2010..................        $42
October 1, 2010, through September 30, 2011..................         60
Beginning October 1, 2011....................................         61
------------------------------------------------------------------------

     (v) The AQI user fees for replacing any certificate are shown in 
the following table.

------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                              Amount per
                      Effective dates                        certificate
------------------------------------------------------------------------
October 1, 2009, through September 30, 2010................         $11
October 1, 2010, through September 30, 2011................          15
Beginning October 1, 2011..................................          15
------------------------------------------------------------------------

* * * * *

    Done in Washington, DC, this 30th day of June 2009.
Cindy Smith,
Acting Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs.
[FR Doc. E9-16146 Filed 7-7-09; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3410-34-P