[Federal Register Volume 75, Number 109 (Tuesday, June 8, 2010)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 32310-32313]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2010-13718]





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DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE



Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service



7 CFR Part 319



[Docket No. APHIS-2010-0022]

RIN 0579-AD14




Importation of Fresh Unshu Oranges from the Republic of Korea 

into the Continental United States



AGENCY: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, USDA.



ACTION: Proposed rule.



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SUMMARY: We are proposing to amend the regulations concerning the 

importation of citrus fruit to remove certain restrictions on the 

importation of Unshu oranges from the Republic of Korea that are no 

longer necessary. Specifically, we propose to remove requirements for 

the fruit to be grown in specified canker-free export areas and for 

joint inspection in the groves and packinghouses by the Government of 

the Republic of Korea and the Animal and Plant Health Inspection 

Service. We would also clarify that surface sterilization of the fruit 

must be conducted in accordance with 7 CFR part 305, and we would 

expand the area in the continental United States where Unshu oranges 

from the Republic of Korea may be distributed. Finally, we would 

require that each shipment be accompanied by a phytosanitary 

certificate containing an additional declaration stating that the fruit 

was given the required surface sterilization and inspected and found 

free of Elsinoe australis. These proposed changes would make the 

regulations concerning the importation of Unshu oranges from the 

Republic of Korea consistent with our domestic regulations concerning 

the interstate movement of citrus fruit from areas quarantined because 

of citrus canker.



DATES: We will consider all comments that we receive on or before 

August 9, 2010.



ADDRESSES: You may submit comments by either of the following methods:

     Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to (http://www.regulations.gov/fdmspublic/component/main?main=DocketDetail&d=APHIS-2010-0022) to submit or view comments 

and to view supporting and related materials available electronically.

     Postal Mail/Commercial Delivery: Please send one copy of 

your comment to Docket No. APHIS-2010-0022, Regulatory Analysis and 

Development, PPD, APHIS, Station 3A-03.8, 4700 River Road Unit 118, 

Riverdale, MD 20737-1238. Please state that your comment refers to 

Docket No. APHIS-2010-0022.

    Reading Room: You may read any comments that we receive on this 

docket in our reading room. The reading room is located in room 1141 of 

the USDA South Building, 14th Street and Independence Avenue SW., 

Washington, DC. Normal reading room hours are 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., 

Monday through Friday, except holidays. To be sure someone is there to 

help you, please call (202) 690-2817 before coming.

    Other Information: Additional information about APHIS and its 

programs is available on the Internet at (http://www.aphis.usda.gov).



FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ms. Meredith C. Jones, Regulatory 

Coordination Specialist, Regulations, Permits, and Manuals, PPQ, APHIS, 

4700 River Road Unit 156, Riverdale, MD 20737; (301) 734-7467.



SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:



Background



    Citrus canker is a disease that affects citrus and is caused by the 

infectious bacterium Xanthomonas citri subsp. citri. Currently, the 

regulations in 7 CFR 319.28 (referred to below as the regulations) 

allow the importation of Unshu oranges (Citrus reticulata var. unshu) 

from certain areas in Japan and from Cheju Island, Republic of Korea 

(South Korea), into the United States under permit and after the 

specified safeguards of a preclearance program have been met to prevent 

the introduction of citrus canker.

    Under the current regulations, Unshu oranges intended for export to 

the United States from the specified regions in Japan and South Korea 

must be grown and packed in isolated, canker-free export areas 

established by the national plant protection organization (NPPO) of the 

country of origin. The regulations also require the joint inspection of 

the fruit by the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) of 

the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the NPPO of the country 

of origin in the groves prior to and during harvest, and in the 

packinghouses during packing operations. Surface sterilization of the 

fruit, as prescribed by the USDA, is required prior to packing. Because 

commercial citrus-producing areas in the United States have a higher 

density of citrus plantings than do other areas and unless adequate 

risk mitigation measures are in place may be more susceptible to the 

introduction of citrus diseases, Unshu oranges from Cheju Island, South 

Korea, cannot be imported under the existing regulations into American 

Samoa, Arizona, California, Florida, Hawaii, Louisiana, the Northern 

Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, Texas, and the U.S. Virgin Islands 

(referred to collectively in this document as commercial citrus-

producing States).

    Currently, Unshu oranges from South Korea are only being imported 

into Alaska. Importation of Unshu oranges from South Korea into other 

authorized areas of the United States was administratively suspended in 

2002 due to an increased number of interceptions of fruit with symptoms 

of citrus canker during inspection at various packinghouses in South 

Korea. In 2005, however, the NPPO of South Korea requested that APHIS 

allow the importation of Unshu oranges into the State of Alaska until 

the pest risks associated with Unshu oranges from South Korea could be 

mitigated to a level sufficient to allow shipments to resume to the 

rest of the United States. In response to that request, APHIS prepared 

a pest risk analysis (PRA), and on October 25, 2007, we published in 

the Federal Register (72 FR 60537-60541, Docket No. APHIS-2006-0133) a 

final rule allowing Unshu oranges into Alaska, provided that the 

oranges were prepared for shipping in accordance with our requirements 

for culling, cleaning, and labeling and were accompanied by a 

phytosanitary certificate stating that the fruit was inspected and 

determined to be free of citrus canker and arrowhead scale.

    The NPPO of the Republic of Korea has more recently submitted a 

request to APHIS to allow the importation of Unshu oranges from Cheju 

Island, Republic of Korea, into the continental United States. In 

response to that request, we have developed an updated PRA, which is 

based on the previous PRA for imports into Alaska and which 

incorporates new evidence found in the ensuing 2 years. The updated PRA 

can be viewed on the Internet on the Regulations.gov Web site or in our 

reading room.\1\

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    \1\ Instructions on accessing Regulations.gov and information on 

the location and hours of the reading room may be found at the 

beginning of this document under ADDRESSES. You may also request 

paper copies of the risk analysis by calling or writing the person 

listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT.

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    The updated PRA, ``Importation of Unshu Orange Fruit, Citrus 

reticulata Blanco var. unshu Swingle, from Korea into the Continental 

United States'' (December 2009), identifies two pests, Xanthomonas 

citri subsp. citri and Elsinoe australis (the causal agents of



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citrus canker and sweet orange scab, respectively), that are associated 

with Unshu oranges as quarantine pests. A quarantine pest is defined by 

the International Plant Protection Convention as ``a pest of potential 

economic importance to the area endangered thereby and not yet present 

there, or present but not widely distributed and being officially 

controlled.''\2\ Elsinoe australis, which we have considered to be a 

quarantine pest, had not been identified previously as such in relation 

to the importation of Unshu oranges from South Korea because it had not 

been known to be present in that country. It was detected in South 

Korea, however, in 2009. Conversely, arrowhead scale, Unaspis 

yanonensis, which we had identified as a quarantine pest in the earlier 

version of the PRA that we published in conjunction with the rulemaking 

allowing Unshu oranges from South Korea to be imported into Alaska, 

does not fall into that category in the updated PRA. A recent critical 

review of the scientific literature and our own operational data led us 

to conclude that, even assuming high quantities of imported fruit 

infested with armored scale species, such as arrowhead scale, the 

specific pathway represented by commercially produced fruit shipped 

without leaves, stems, or contaminants, in accordance with our general 

requirements for the importation of fruits and vegetables in Sec.  

319.56-3, poses an extremely low risk of introducing such pests to the 

U.S. citrus crop.

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    \2\ International Plant Protection Convention Glossary, (https://www.ippc.int/index.php?id=1110483), 2007.

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    In our updated PRA, the two identified quarantine pests, 

Xanthomonas citri subsp. citri and Elsinoe australis, were rated as 

having a medium pest risk potential. Pests receiving a rating within 

the medium range may require specific phytosanitary measures in 

addition to standard port-of-entry inspection.

    The PRA included a risk management document outlining the 

conditions under which Unshu oranges from Cheju Island, Republic of 

Korea, could safely be imported into the continental United States and 

Alaska. The conditions include surface treatment of the fruit in 

accordance with 7 CFR part 305 prior to packing, registration of the 

packinghouse in which the treatment is applied and the fruit is packed 

with the NPPO of South Korea, and certification that the fruit has been 

treated in accordance with the regulations and has been inspected and 

found to be free of sweet orange scab. Scientific evidence indicates 

that commercially packed and disinfected fresh citrus fruit is not an 

epidemiologically significant pathway for the spread of Xanthomonas 

citri subsp. citri. Therefore, Unshu oranges from South Korea meeting 

those conditions can be imported into the United States without posing 

an epidemiologically significant risk to the U.S. citrus crop of 

infection with citrus canker. Inspection by the NPPO of South Korea of 

Unshu oranges for symptoms of sweet orange scab prior to export is 

considered to offer adequate protection against introducing that 

disease to the U.S. citrus crop because the symptoms can be detected if 

present, and if the symptoms are not present, the Unshu oranges are 

unlikely to be a pathway for sweet orange scab.

    We are therefore proposing to incorporate those requirements into 

the regulations in Sec.  319.28 pertaining to the importation of Unshu 

oranges from South Korea. (As noted above, the existing regulations do 

require surface sterilization of the fruit as prescribed by the USDA. 

Because we have determined that the use of a post-harvest disinfectant 

in accordance with 7 CFR part 305 is the most effective mitigation for 

citrus canker, we are proposing to state explicitly that the treatment 

must be conducted in accordance with part 305.)\3\ We are also 

proposing additional changes that would eliminate certain requirements 

associated with the importation of Unshu oranges from South Korea that 

we consider no longer to be necessary. Specifically, we would remove 

the requirements for the oranges to be grown in specified canker-free 

areas and for joint inspection of the fruit by the South Korean NPPO 

and APHIS prior to and during harvest and in the packinghouses during 

packing operations.

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    \3\ Part 305 contains requirements for administering approved 

treatments. As noted in Sec.  305.2(b), approved treatment schedules 

are set out in the Plant Protection and Quarantine Treatment Manual, 

available at (http://www.aphis.usda.gov/import_export/plants/manuals/ports/treatment.shtml). The approved citrus canker treatment 

schedule for imported citrus fruit is the same as that for domestic 

citrus fruit.

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    Some of the changes we are proposing, in addition to eliminating 

restrictions that are no longer necessary, would also help to harmonize 

the regulations with our domestic citrus canker regulations. In a final 

rule published in the Federal Register on October 22, 2009 (74 FR 

54431-54445, Docket No. APHIS-2009-0023), we amended the conditions 

under which fruit may be moved interstate from an area quarantined for 

citrus canker by removing certain restrictions that we considered to be 

no longer necessary. That final rule removed a requirement for an APHIS 

inspector to be in the packinghouse and inspect fruit leaving an area 

quarantined for citrus canker, as well as a prohibition on the 

interstate movement of citrus fruit from quarantined areas to 

commercial citrus-producing States. Our proposed removal of the 

requirements for Unshu oranges exported to the United States to have 

been produced in specified canker-free areas and jointly inspected by 

the NPPO of South Korea and APHIS in the groves and packinghouses, and 

our proposed removal of the prohibition on the exportation of the fruit 

into commercial citrus-producing States in the continental United 

States would parallel those changes to the domestic regulations. 

Similarly, our proposed requirement that South Korean packinghouses be 

registered with the NPPO of South Korea would also contribute to 

harmonizing our import requirements with our domestic ones by 

paralleling a requirement in Sec.  301.75-7 that owners or operators of 

packinghouses where packing of fruit regulated for citrus canker occurs 

enter into compliance agreements with APHIS.



Reorganization of the Regulations Pertaining to the Importation of 

Unshu Oranges



    The requirements for the importation of Unshu oranges from Japan 

and South Korea are contained in Sec.  319.28(b) and (c) of the current 

regulations. Paragraph (b) contains provisions applicable to imports 

from both countries, while the requirements governing the importation 

of Unshu oranges from South Korea into Alaska, codified in our October 

2007 final rule, are found in paragraph (c). Because our PRA covered 

imports from South Korea only, we are not proposing to make any changes 

at this time to the requirements regarding the importation of Unshu 

oranges from Japan. The import requirements discussed in paragraph (b) 

that heretofore have applied to both countries would, under this 

proposed rule, remain in effect only for Japan. It is, therefore, 

necessary to reorganize paragraphs (b) and (c) of Sec.  319.28 to 

separate the provisions for South Korea and Japan. Under this proposed 

rule, the requirements for the importation of Unshu oranges from Japan 

would continue to be contained in paragraph (b). The proposed 

requirements discussed above pertaining to the importation of Unshu 

oranges from South Korea would be located in paragraph (c). Since the 

importation of Unshu oranges into



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Alaska would be subject to the same conditions as fruit imported into 

other areas of the United States, the Alaska-specific requirements 

contained in current paragraph (c) would be removed.

    Proposed paragraph (c)(1) would state that before packing, the 

oranges would have to be given a surface sterilization in accordance 

with part 305. Paragraph (c)(2) would contain the requirement for the 

packinghouse to be registered with the NPPO of the Republic of Korea. 

Paragraph (c)(3) would state that the oranges would have to be 

accompanied by a phytosanitary certificate issued by the NPPO of South 

Korea that would include an additional declaration stating that the 

fruit was subjected to the required sterilization and was inspected and 

found free of Elsinoe australis, the causal agent of sweet orange scab. 

Finally, paragraph (c)(4) would state that the Unshu oranges could be 

imported into any area of the United States except Hawaii and the U.S. 

territories listed in that paragraph. The PRA did not evaluate the risk 

of importing Unshu oranges from South Korea into Hawaii and the listed 

territories, so we would not remove the restrictions on such imports.



Executive Order 12866 and Regulatory Flexibility Act



    This proposed 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.

    In accordance with the Regulatory Flexibility Act, we have analyzed 

the potential economic effects of this action on small entities. The 

analysis is summarized below. Copies of the full analysis are available 

by contacting the person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT 

or on the Regulations.gov Web site (see ADDRESSES above for 

instructions for accessing Regulations.gov).

    This proposed rule would remove certain restrictions on the 

importation of Unshu oranges from South Korea that are no longer 

necessary and expand the area in the continental United States where 

Unshus from South Korea may be distributed.

    The impact of Unshu orange imports from South Korea is expected to 

be minimal for U.S. domestic producers. The United States does not 

commercially produce Unshu oranges, and price differences suggest that 

they are not a close substitute for U.S.-grown mandarin varieties, such 

as tangerines. Effects of the proposed rule in terms of product 

displacement may be borne by Japanese exporters, since Japan is 

currently the other major supplier of Unshu oranges to the United 

States.

    Even if all Unshu orange imports from South Korea were to directly 

replace a portion of U.S.-grown tangerine consumption, the effect on 

U.S. producers would be still insignificant. Under such a scenario, 

annual imports of Unshu oranges from South Korea of 2,000 metric tons 

(the upper limit of the projected range of imports, which would well 

surpass the peak import volume of 1,611 metric tons recorded in 2002) 

would displace only 0.6 percent of fresh tangerines produced by U.S. 

operations in 2008-2009. Even a small impact such as this for U.S. 

producers is highly unlikely.

    Under these circumstances, the Administrator of the Animal and 

Plant Health Inspection Service has determined that this action would 

not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small 

entities.



Executive Order 12988



    This proposed rule would allow Unshu oranges to be imported into 

the United States from Cheju Island, Republic of Korea. If this 

proposed rule is adopted, State and local laws and regulations 

regarding Unshu oranges imported under this rule would be preempted 

while the fruit is in foreign commerce. Fresh fruits and vegetables are 

generally imported for immediate distribution and sale to the consuming 

public and would remain in foreign commerce until sold to the ultimate 

consumer. The question of when foreign commerce ceases in other cases 

must be addressed on a case-by-case basis. If this proposed rule is 

adopted, no retroactive effect will be given to this rule, and this 

rule will not require administrative proceedings before parties may 

file suit in court challenging this rule.



Paperwork Reduction Act



    This proposed rule contains no new 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 319



    Coffee, Cotton, Fruits, Imports, Logs, Nursery stock, Plant 

diseases and pests, Quarantine, Reporting and recordkeeping 

requirements, Rice, Vegetables.

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



PART 319-FOREIGN QUARANTINE NOTICES



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

follows:



    Authority: 7 U.S.C. 450, 7701-7772, and 7781-7786; 21 U.S.C. 136 

and 136a; 7 CFR 2.22, 2.80, and 371.3.

    2. Section 319.28 is amended by revising paragraphs (b) and (c) to 

read as follows:





Sec.  319.28  Notice of quarantine.



* * * * *

    (b) Unshu oranges from Japan. The prohibition does not apply to 

Unshu oranges (Citrus reticulata Blanco var. unshu, Swingle [Citrus 

unshiu Marcovitch, Tanaka]), also known as Satsuma mandarin, grown in 

Japan and imported under permit into any area of the United States 

except for those areas specified in paragraph (b)(7) of this section: 

Provided, that each of the following safeguards is fully carried out:

    (1) The Unshu oranges must be grown and packed in isolated, canker-

free export areas established by the plant protection service of Japan. 

Only Unshu orange trees may be grown in these areas, which must be kept 

free of all citrus other than the propagative material of Unshu 

oranges. The export areas must be inspected and found free of citrus 

canker and prohibited plant material by qualified plant protection 

officers of both Japan and the United States. The export areas must be 

surrounded by 400-meter-wide buffer zones. The buffer zones must be 

kept free of all citrus other than the following 10 varieties: Buntan 

Hirado (Citrus grandis); Buntan Vietnam (C. grandis); Hassaku (C. 

hassaku); Hyuganatsu (C. tamurana); Kinkan (Fortunella spp. non 

Fortunella hindsii); Kiyomi tangor (hybrid); Orange Hyuga (C. 

tamurana); Ponkan (C. reticulata); Unshu (C. unshiu Marcovitch, Tanaka 

[Citrus reticulata Blanco var. unshu, Swingle]); and Yuzu (C. junos). 

The buffer zones must be inspected and found free of citrus canker and 

prohibited plant material by qualified plant protection officers of 

both Japan and the United States.

    (2) In Unshu orange export areas and buffer zones on Kyushu Island, 

Japan, trapping for the citrus fruit fly (Bactrocera tsuneonis) must be 

conducted as prescribed by the Japanese Government's Ministry of 

Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries and the U.S. Department of 

Agriculture. If fruit flies are detected, then shipping will be 

suspended from the export area until negative trapping shows the 

problem has been resolved.

    (3) Inspection of the Unshu oranges shall be performed jointly by 

plant protection officers of Japan and the United States in the groves 

prior to and during harvest, and in the packinghouses during packing 

operations.



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    (4) Before packing, such oranges shall be given a surface 

sterilization as prescribed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

    (5) To be eligible for importation into Arizona, California, 

Florida, Hawaii, Louisiana, or Texas, each shipment of oranges grown on 

Honshu Island or Shikoku Island, Japan, must be fumigated with methyl 

bromide in accordance with part 305 of this chapter after harvest and 

prior to exportation to the United States. Fumigation will not be 

required for shipments of oranges grown on Honshu Island or Shikoku 

Island, Japan, that are to be imported into States other than Arizona, 

California, Florida, Hawaii, Louisiana, or Texas.

    (6) The identity of the fruit shall be maintained in the following 

manner:

    (i) The individual boxes in which the oranges are shipped must be 

stamped or printed with a statement specifying the States into which 

the Unshu oranges may be imported, and from which they are prohibited 

removal under a Federal plant quarantine.

    (ii) Each shipment of oranges handled in accordance with these 

procedures shall be accompanied by a certificate of the plant 

protection service of Japan certifying that the fruit is apparently 

free of citrus canker disease.

    (7) The Unshu oranges may be imported into the United States only 

through a port of entry identified in Sec.  319.37-14 that is located 

in an area of the United States into which their importation is 

authorized. The following importation restrictions apply:

    (i) Unshu oranges from Honshu Island or Shikoku Island, Japan, that 

have been fumigated in accordance with part 305 of this chapter may be 

imported into any area of the United States except American Samoa, the 

Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

    (ii) Unshu oranges from Honshu Island or Shikoku Island, Japan, and 

from Kyushu Island, Japan (Prefectures of Fukuoka, Kumanmoto, Nagasaki, 

and Saga only), that have not been fumigated in accordance with part 

305 of this chapter may be imported into any area of the United States 

except American Samoa, Arizona, California, Florida, Hawaii, Louisiana, 

the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, Texas, and the U.S. Virgin 

Islands.

    (c) Unshu oranges from the Republic of Korea. The prohibition does 

not apply to Unshu oranges (Citrus reticulata Blanco var. unshu, 

Swingle [Citrus unshiu Marcovitch, Tanaka]), also known as Satsuma 

mandarin, grown on Cheju Island, Republic of Korea, and imported under 

permit into any area of the United States except for those specified in 

paragraph (c)(4) of this section, Provided, that each of the following 

safeguards is fully carried out:

    (1) Before packing, such oranges shall be given a surface 

sterilization in accordance with part 305 of this chapter.

    (2) The packinghouse in which the surface sterilization treatment 

is applied and the fruit is packed must be registered with the national 

plant protection organization of the Republic of Korea.

    (3) The Unshu oranges must be accompanied by a phytosanitary 

certificate issued by the national plant protection organization of the 

Republic of Korea, which includes an additional declaration stating 

that the fruit was given a surface sterilization in accordance with 7 

CFR part 305 and was inspected and found free of Elsinoe australis.

    (4) The Unshu oranges may be imported into any area of the United 

States except American Samoa, Hawaii, the Northern Mariana Islands, 

Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

* * * * *

    Done in Washington, DC, this 2\nd\ day of June 2010.



Kevin Shea

Acting Administrator, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

[FR Doc. 2010-13718 Filed 6-7-10: 6:37 am]

BILLING CODE 3410-34-S