[Federal Register Volume 75, Number 91 (Wednesday, May 12, 2010)]
[Notices]
[Pages 26707-26708]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2010-11438]


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DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service

[Docket No. APHIS-2009-0097]


Notice of Decision to Issue Permits for the Importation of Fresh 
Pomegranates and Baby Kiwi from Chile into the United States

AGENCY: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, USDA.

ACTION: Notice.

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SUMMARY: We are advising the public of our decision to begin issuing 
permits for the importation into the continental United States of fresh 
pomegranates and fresh baby kiwi from Chile. Based on the findings of 
pest risk analyses, which we made available to the public for review 
and comment through a previous notice, we believe that the application 
of one or more designated phytosanitary measures will be sufficient to 
mitigate the risks of introducing or disseminating plant pests or 
noxious weeds via the importation of fresh pomegranates and fresh baby 
kiwi from Chile.

EFFECTIVE DATE: May 12, 2010.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For information concerning 
pomegranates from Chile, contact Mr. Tony Rom[aacute]n, Regulatory 
Policy Specialist, Regulatory Coordination and Compliance, PPQ, APHIS, 
4700 River Road Unit 133, Riverdale, MD 20737-1236; (301) 734-5820.
    For information concerning baby kiwi fruit from Chile, contact Mr. 
David B. Lamb, Import Specialist, Regulatory Coordination and 
Compliance, PPQ, APHIS, 4700 River Road Unit 133, Riverdale, MD 20737-
1236; (301) 734-0627.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Under the regulations in ``Subpart-Fruits 
and Vegetables'' (7 CFR 319.56 through 319.56-50, referred to below as 
the regulations), the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service 
(APHIS) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture prohibits or restricts 
the importation of fruits and vegetables into the United States from 
certain parts of the world to prevent plant pests from being introduced 
into and spread within the United States.
    Section 319.56-4 of the regulations contains a performance-based 
process for approving the importation of commodities that, based on the 
findings of a pest risk analysis, can be safely imported subject to one 
or more of the designated phytosanitary measures listed in paragraph 
(b) of that section. Under that process, APHIS publishes a notice in 
the Federal Register announcing the availability of the pest risk 
analysis that evaluates the risks associated with the importation of a 
particular fruit or vegetable. Following the close of the 60-day 
comment period, APHIS may begin issuing permits for importation of the 
fruit or vegetable subject to the identified designated measures if: 
(1) No comments were received on the pest risk analysis; (2) the 
comments on the pest risk analysis revealed that no changes to the pest 
risk analysis were necessary; or (3) changes to the pest risk analysis 
were made in response to public comments, but the changes did not 
affect the overall conclusions of the analysis and the Administrator's 
determination of risk.
    In accordance with that process, we published a notice\1\ in the 
Federal Register on February 9, 2010 (75 FR 6344-6345, Docket No. 
APHIS-2009-0097), in which we announced the availability, for review 
and comment, of two pest risk analyses that evaluate the

[[Page 26708]]

risks associated with the importation into the continental United 
States of fresh figs, pomegranates, and baby kiwi fruit from Chile. We 
solicited comments on the notice for 60 days ending on April 12, 2010. 
We received 25 comments by that date, from port terminal operators, 
growers' associations, trade associations, a fumigation service, a 
State agriculture department, a foreign Government agency, a foreign 
trade association, and several produce importers, exporters, and 
wholesalers. Most of the commenters agreed that the mitigation measures 
described in the pest risk analysis would be adequate. However, three 
commenters raised concerns about the pest risk analyses or proposed 
mitigation measures. These concerns are discussed below.
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    \1\ To view the notice and the comments we received, go to 
(http://www.regulations.gov/fdmspublic/component/main?main=DocketDetail&d=APHIS-2009-0097).
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    One commenter raised several concerns regarding the risks 
associated with the importation of fresh figs from Chile. In order to 
give ourselves adequate time to explore the issues raised by the 
commenter, we are delaying our decision on figs and will address only 
pomegranates and baby kiwi from Chile in this notice. Our decision with 
respect to fresh figs from Chile will be announced in a later notice.
    Two commenters stated that APHIS should conduct assessments at 
regular intervals to ensure that Chilean pomegranates remain safe from 
the Mediterranean fruit fly (Medfly).
    APHIS does not believe that this is necessary. We currently 
recognize all of Chile, with the exceptions of the provinces of Arica 
and Parinacota, as free of Medfly. Furthermore, on February 1, 2010, we 
published a notice in the Federal Register (75 FR 5034-5035, Docket No. 
APHIS-2009-0082) in which we announced our determination that Arica and 
Parinacota Provinces are free from Medfly and solicited comments on 
that determination. We received only supportive comments on this 
announcement and intend to proceed with a followup notice formalizing 
this determination. This will result in all of Chile being recognized 
as a pest-free area for Medfly. Until the decision is implemented, 
APHIS will allow export of pomegranates only from areas of Chile 
currently recognized as free of Medfly. Commercial consignments must 
have a phytosanitary certificate with an additional declaration stating 
that the fruit comes from an area found free of Medfly.
    The same commenter endorsed the use of methyl bromide as a 
treatment to mitigate the risks associated with the Chilean false red 
mite (Brevipalpis chilensis) but went on to suggest that APHIS develop 
a quarantine program that could be implemented in the event that pest 
should enter the United States.
    APHIS does not believe it is necessary to develop a quarantine 
program as a precautionary measure. APHIS has established protocols 
that we use to guide our response to incursions of new plant pests.
    One commenter questioned whether our estimate of the number of 
hectares of pomegranate production in Chile was accurate. The commenter 
stated that U.S. pomegranate growers had observed larger areas under 
cultivation than were estimated in our pest risk analysis.
    In our pest risk analysis, we stated that Chile had 150 hectares of 
pomegranate cultivation in zones III and IV, that is, in Atacama and 
Coquimbo provinces, in 2007. According to the Association of Chilean 
Exporters, Chile currently has 300 hectares of pomegranates in 
production at present. It is possible that Chile has a greater number 
of hectares under cultivation, but that some of those orchards are not 
yet mature and thus are not considered to be in production.
    Therefore, in accordance with the regulations in Sec.  319.56-
4(c)(2)(ii), we are announcing our decision to begin issuing permits 
for the importation into the continental United States of fresh 
pomegranates and baby kiwi from Chile subject to the following 
phytosanitary measures:
     Each shipment of pomegranates or baby kiwi must be 
accompanied by a phytosanitary certificate. For shipments of 
pomegranates, the phytosanitary certificate must also bear the 
following additional declaration: ``The pomegranates in this 
consignment originated in an area free of Mediterranean fruit fly 
(Ceratitis capitata).'' The phytosanitary certificate or phytosanitary 
certificate with additional declaration must be issued by the national 
plant protection organization of Chile.
     The shipment must be fumigated with methyl bromide using 
treatment schedule T-101-i-2-1 in accordance with 7 CFR part 305.
     The pomegranates or baby kiwi must be a commercial 
consignment as defined in 7 CFR 319.56-2.
    These conditions will be listed in the Fruits and Vegetables Import 
Requirements database (available at (http://www.aphis.usda.gov/favir)) 
. In addition to those specific measures, the fresh pomegranates and 
baby kiwi will be subject to the general requirements listed in Sec.  
319.56-3 that are applicable to the importation of all fruits and 
vegetables.

    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.
    Done in Washington, DC, this 10\th\ day of May, 2010.

Kevin Shea
Acting Administrator, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.
[FR Doc. 2010-11438 Filed 5-12-10; 7:26 am]
BILLING CODE 3410-34-S