[Federal Register Volume 75, Number 248 (Tuesday, December 28, 2010)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 81372-81376]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2010-32589]


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DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service

7 CFR Part 319

[Docket No. APHIS-2008-0060]
RIN 0579-AD13


Hass Avocados From Mexico; Importation Into the Commonwealth of 
Puerto Rico and Other Changes

AGENCY: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, USDA.

ACTION: Final rule.

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SUMMARY: We are amending the regulations governing the importation of 
fruits and vegetables to provide for the importation of Hass avocados 
from Mexico into Puerto Rico under the same systems approach currently 
required for the importation of Hass avocados into all States of the 
United States from Michoac[aacute]n, Mexico. The systems approach 
requirements include trapping, orchard certification, limited 
production area, trace back labeling, pre-harvest orchard surveys for 
all pests, orchard sanitation, post-harvest safeguards, fruit cutting 
and inspection at the packinghouse, port-of-arrival inspection, and 
clearance activities. This action will allow for the importation of 
Hass avocados from Michoac[aacute]n, Mexico, into Puerto Rico while 
continuing to provide protection against the introduction of quarantine 
pests. In addition, we are amending the regulations to provide for the 
Mexican national plant protection organization to use an approved 
designee to inspect avocados for export and to suspend importation of 
avocados into the United States from Michoac[aacute]n, Mexico, only 
from specific orchards or packinghouses when quarantine pests are 
detected, rather than suspending imports from the entire municipality 
where the affected orchards or packinghouses are located. These changes 
will provide additional flexibility in operating the export program 
while continuing to provide protection against the introduction of 
quarantine pests.

DATES: Effective Date: December 28, 2010.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. David B. Lamb, Import Specialist, 
Regulatory Coordination and Compliance, PPQ, APHIS, 4700 River Road, 
Unit 133, Riverdale, MD 20737-1231; (301) 734-0627.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Background

    Under the regulations in ``Subpart--Fruits and Vegetables'' (7 CFR 
319.56-1 through 319.56-50, referred to below as the regulations), the 
Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) 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.
    The requirements for importing Hass avocados into the United States 
from Michoac[aacute]n, Mexico, are described in Sec.  319.56-30. Those 
requirements include pest surveys and pest risk-reducing practices, 
treatment, packinghouse procedures, inspection, and shipping 
procedures.
    On May 14, 2010, we published in the Federal Register (75 FR 27225-
27227, Docket No. APHIS-2008-0060) a proposal \1\ to amend the 
regulations to:
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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-2008-0060.
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     Allow the importation of Hass avocados from 
Michoac[aacute]n, Mexico, into Puerto Rico, under the same conditions 
required for importation into the 50 States;
     Provide for the Mexican national plant protection 
organization (NPPO) to use an approved designee to inspect avocados for 
export; and
     Limit the scope of suspension of export certification to 
the orchard or packinghouse in which pests are found, rather than the 
municipality in which the orchard or packinghouse is located.
    We solicited comments concerning our proposal for 60 days ending 
July 13, 2010. We received four comments by that date. They were from 
associations of avocado producers and representatives of State and 
foreign

[[Page 81373]]

governments. They are discussed below by topic.

General Comments

    One commenter stated that invasive pests are one of the foremost 
challenges for California avocado growers and that research has 
definitively shown that some of the most pernicious avocado pests 
presently found in California originated in Mexico and Central America. 
This commenter stated that growers are apprehensive about any 
modification of export protocols that shifts risk to the domestic 
producer, and the commenter characterized the proposed rule as an 
example of such risk-shifting.
    The commenter did not specify which pernicious avocado pests 
prompted this concern. The regulations in Sec.  319.56-30 set out a 
systems approach designed to mitigate the risk of introducing 
quarantine pests via the importation of Hass avocados from Mexico into 
the United States. By any measure, the systems approach has been 
successful at this goal. In 9 years of fruit cutting and inspection of 
Hass avocados imported from Mexico, over 28 million fruit were examined 
(20.2 million in the orchards, 7.2 million in packinghouses, and 
602,490 at border inspection ports) for pests. Twice, the quarantine 
pest Contrachelus perseae was found, both times in backyard avocados 
that would not have been eligible to be exported to the United States. 
Both outbreaks of this pest were eradicated. All other avocados from 
this export program have been found to be free of quarantine pests. 
There is no evidence that the importation of Hass avocados from Mexico 
has resulted in the introduction of quarantine pests into the United 
States.
    The proposed changes are minor updates designed to provide 
additional flexibility in operating the export program while continuing 
to provide protection against the introduction of quarantine pests.

Allowing the Importation of Hass Avocados From Mexico Into Other U.S. 
Territories

    We did not receive any comments expressing concern about allowing 
the importation of Hass avocados from Mexico into Puerto Rico. However, 
one commenter requested that we eliminate all restrictions on the 
importation and distribution of Hass avocados to the U.S. territories 
as well. The commenter stated that, unless there is a sound scientific 
reason to ban Mexican Hass avocados from being distributed into the 
U.S. territories, APHIS should allow the trade, whether or not there 
has been a formal diplomatic request to lift this trade barrier. The 
commenter stated that the Plant Protection Act (7 U.S.C. 7701 et seq.) 
clearly considers the territories to be part of the United States.
    The commenter noted that Hass avocados produced in California, 
Chile, New Zealand, and the Dominican Republic can all be imported or 
moved interstate to the U.S. territories without any additional 
safeguards or other mitigations for known pests. The commenter stated 
that if APHIS were to maintain such restrictions on Mexican Hass 
avocados without a scientific justification, it would risk violating 
the nondiscrimination provisions of the World Trade Organization's 
Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures and 
the comparable provisions of the North American Free Trade Agreement.
    Finally, the commenter stated, maintaining a trade restriction may 
trap unwary U.S. or Mexican produce handlers who are consolidating 
shipments of produce to the territories.
    The commenter also stated that, if the commenter's proposed change 
was adopted, it would be appropriate to eliminate box markings for 
restricted distribution, as the extremely small markets in the U.S. 
territories would not justify the expensive and burdensome box marking 
and storage arrangements that would be necessary for packers, 
importers, and marketers, nor the potential compliance costs incurred 
by APHIS.
    Section 319.56-1 prohibits the importation of all fruits or 
vegetables except as provided in the regulations. We only allow the 
importation of fruits or vegetables after conducting an analysis of the 
pest risk associated with the importation of said fruits or vegetables. 
As noted in the commodity import evaluation document we made available 
to the public along with the proposed rule, the risks associated with 
the importation of Hass avocados from Mexico to U.S. territories have 
not been analyzed. Therefore, we will not allow such importation until 
an analysis is completed. The differing pest situations in each of the 
territories require us to conduct separate analyses regarding the 
importation of Hass avocados from Mexico into each territory.
    Hass avocados produced in California have historically been allowed 
to move freely within the United States, which, as the commenter notes, 
clearly includes the territories; we expect that any pests associated 
with the interstate movement of avocados from California would have 
been introduced into the territories long ago. The risk analyses for 
the importation of Hass avocados from Chile, New Zealand, and the 
Dominican Republic all included analysis specific to the territories.
    As the importation of most fruits and vegetables is prohibited 
under Sec.  319.56-1, we ask that foreign governments interested in 
exporting fruits and vegetables to the United States, or to new areas 
within the United States, make formal requests to do so, so that we can 
prioritize our risk analysis activity. If we receive a formal request 
to analyze the risks associated with the importation of Hass avocados 
from Mexico into the U.S. territories, we will consider it.
    With respect to the commenter's concern regarding produce handlers, 
for consignments imported into the 50 States and Puerto Rico, we will 
include as a condition of the import permit a prohibition on moving the 
avocados to any U.S. territory. In the past, we have found such 
restrictions to be effective at preventing the unauthorized interstate 
movement of fruits and vegetables. As part of allowing the importation 
of Hass avocados from Mexico into Puerto Rico, we proposed to remove 
the requirement for marking boxes to indicate limitations on their 
distribution from paragraph (c)(3)(vii) of Sec.  319.56-30 for that 
reason.
    However, we are not removing the remaining box marking requirements 
in paragraph (c)(3)(vii), which require the avocados to be packed in 
boxes or crates that are clearly marked with the identity of the 
grower, packinghouse, and exporter. This information is necessary in 
case we need to conduct traceback on Hass avocados imported from 
Mexico.

Use of an Approved Designee To Inspect Avocados for Export

    The regulations in Sec.  319.56-30(c)(3)(iv) require samples of 
Hass avocados produced in Michoac[aacute]n, Mexico, to be selected, 
cut, and inspected by the Mexican NPPO and found free from pests. We 
proposed to amend that paragraph to provide for avocados to be 
selected, cut, and inspected by either the Mexican NPPO or its approved 
designee. We stated that the use of approved designees in situations 
such as this is consistent with the International Plant Protection 
Convention's International Standard for Phytosanitary Measures (ISPM) 
No. 20,\2\ which, among other things, describes a system that NPPOs may 
use to authorize other government services, non-governmental 
organizations, agencies, or

[[Page 81374]]

persons to act on their behalf for certain defined functions.
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    \2\ To view this and other ISPMs on the Internet, go to http://www.ippc.int/ and click on the ``Adopted Standards'' link under the 
``Core activities'' heading.
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    One commenter supported this change, but stressed the importance of 
reviewing the criteria that will be utilized by the Mexican NPPO to 
choose a designee for these purposes. Another commenter noted that ISPM 
No. 20 states that, for the use of approved designees, the ISPM 
guidelines state that ``operational procedures'' are required and that 
``procedures should be developed for the demonstration of competency 
and for audits, corrective actions, system review and withdrawal of 
authorization.'' This commenter recommended that APHIS require the 
Mexican NPPO to provide detailed procedures consistent with ISPM No. 20 
before making this change. The commenter also recommended that the 
regulations indicate that APHIS retains the right to conduct periodic 
audits to verify that the procedures, once implemented, are being 
properly performed by the NPPO's designee.
    We will review and approve the Mexican NPPO's procedures for 
approving designees to select, cut, and inspect fruit before the 
Mexican NPPO begins using approved designees. The specific process by 
which this takes place will be detailed in the workplan that the 
Mexican NPPO provides to APHIS annually. APHIS must approve the 
workplan. For that reason, it is not necessary to delay changing the 
regulations in order to ensure that APHIS can review and approve the 
Mexican NPPO's procedures for approving designees. With respect to the 
second commenter's other recommendation, the introductory text of 
paragraph (c) of Sec.  319.56-30 already indicates that APHIS will be 
directly involved with the NPPO in the monitoring and supervision of 
activities carried out under Sec.  319.56-30. This would include 
monitoring the procedures for approving designees.
    Two commenters recommended that we allow the Mexican NPPO to use 
approved designees for the pest surveys and trapping required in 
paragraph (c)(1) of Sec.  319.56-30. The commenters stated that there 
may be many highly qualified entomologists or other experts in the 
private sector that would be available for contracting with the Mexican 
NPPO to carry out phytosanitary tasks in the avocado orchards.
    These commenters suggested that we amend the introductory text of 
paragraph (c), which currently indicates that personnel carrying out 
tasks required in paragraph (c) must be ``hired, trained, and 
supervised by the Mexican NPPO,'' to indicate that it allows the use of 
accredited inspectors to perform these tasks.
    It was necessary to amend paragraph (c)(3)(iv) in order to 
accommodate the use of approved designees because that paragraph 
specifically required the Mexican NPPO to select, cut, and inspect 
fruit. However, the requirement that personnel who perform tasks 
required in paragraph (c) of Sec.  319.56-30 be hired, trained, and 
supervised by the Mexican NPPO does not mean that those personnel have 
to be employees of the Mexican NPPO; they can be hired as contractors, 
provided that they are trained and supervised by the Mexican NPPO, and 
provided that they operate in accordance with the various procedures 
described in ISPM No. 20. Thus, the regulations already accommodate the 
use of approved designees for these functions. We appreciate the 
opportunity to clarify this point.

Limiting the Scope of Suspension of Export Certification

    Paragraph (e) of Sec.  319.56-30 sets out the procedures that are 
followed when a pest is detected in the surveys and inspections 
required in paragraph (c). Under paragraph (e)(1), when avocado seed 
pests other than the avocado stem weevil Copturus aguacatae (Heilipus 
lauri, Conotrachelus aguacatae, C. perseae, or Stenoma catenifer) are 
detected during semiannual pest surveys, orchard surveys, packinghouse 
inspections, or other monitoring or inspection activities, the entire 
municipality in which the pests are discovered loses its pest-free 
certification and avocado exports from that municipality are suspended. 
However, our regulations in paragraphs (e)(2) and (e)(3) call for the 
suspension of the export certification of individual orchards and 
packinghouses where the avocado stem weevil, Copturus aguacatae, is 
detected, rather than for the suspension of the export certification of 
the entire municipality. Based on our experience with the avocado seed 
pests in the Mexican Hass avocado export program, we proposed to 
replace paragraphs (e)(1) through (e)(3) of Sec.  319.56-30 with a new 
paragraph (e) stating that suspension of avocado shipments applies to 
orchards or packinghouses within a municipality when H. lauri, C. 
aguacatae, C. perseae, Copturus aguacatae, or S. catenifer are 
detected.
    One commenter stated that APHIS should establish a buffer zone with 
a radius of at least 1 square mile from the specific site where an 
avocado seed pest is detected. The commenter added that orchards 
encompassed in part or in their entirety by this buffer zone should be 
suspended from the avocado export program until the pests of concern 
have been eradicated. To support this position, the commenter cited 
recent research conducted in Guatemala by Dr. Mark Hoddle, an 
entomologist at the University of California, Riverside, which has 
shown that S. catenifer are vigorous fliers that commence flight at 
dusk and continue on and off until dawn. The commenter quoted a 
personal communication from Dr. Hoddle stating that it is highly likely 
that S. catenifer flies more than 100 meters in one night. The study 
from which this figure was derived measured flight distances between 
release points and pheromone traps designed to lure male avocado seed 
moths. The commenter stated that this distance is almost certainly 
different for females, which are likely to fly even farther, if 
necessary, to locate a site suitable for egg-laying; this assertion was 
based on a personal communication from Dr. Jocelyn Millar, also an 
entomologist at the University of California, Riverside. The commenter 
further stated that various moth species have been documented to fly 
``at least several kilometers'' to locate pheromone sources, citing 
Hoddle, M.S., et al., ``Field optimization of the sex pheromone of 
Stenoma catenifer (Lepidoptera: Elachistidae): Evaluation of lure 
types, trap height, male flight distances, and number of traps needed 
per avocado orchard for detection,'' scheduled for publication in an 
upcoming issue of the Bulletin of Entomological Research.
    Another commenter, supporting the change we proposed, cited a Web 
site presented by Dr. Hoddle \3\ that states that the flight of S. 
catenifer when released from vials ranged between 3 and 12 meters; 
those moths invariably sought refuge in nearby fallen leaves and other 
debris. The commenter also stated that the original pest risk 
assessment for the importation of Hass avocados year-round and into all 
50 States, prepared in 2004, contained an appendix confirming the 
limited mobility of the seed pests other than S. catenifer.
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    \3\ http://www.biocontrol.ucr.edu/Stenoma/Stenoma.html.
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    We appreciate the commenters submitting additional information 
about S. catenifer. In citing Dr. Hoddle's Web site, the second 
commenter did not mention that the flights of 3 to 12 meters occurred 
when S. catenifer was released during the day (specifically, at 2 
p.m.). As discussed by the first commenter, S. catenifer has been shown 
to fly longer

[[Page 81375]]

distances at night in at least some circumstances.
    However, the evidence from Dr. Hoddle's studies regarding S. 
catenifer's mobility in Guatemala may not necessarily be relevant to 
its mobility in Mexico. S. catenifer is known to respond to changes in 
climate; Guatemala's is a hot climate with periodic shifts from wet to 
dry seasons, while the province of Michoac[aacute]n is drier and 
cooler.
    More importantly, conducting the Mexican Hass avocado export 
program has given us extensive information about how H. lauri, C. 
aguacatae, C. perseae, Copturus aguacatae, and S. catenifer behave in 
commercial Hass avocado production in Michoac[aacute]n. As noted 
earlier, only twice has any one of these pests been found, both times 
in backyard avocados that would not have been eligible to be exported 
to the United States, and none of the quarantine pests identified in 
the 2004 pest risk assessment (including the seed pests at issue here) 
have been found in avocados presented for importation into the United 
States.
    The information provided by the first commenter does not change our 
conclusion, based on years of evaluation of the effectiveness of the 
systems approach used to mitigate pests in approved municipalities, 
that the mobility of avocado seed pests, including S. catenifer, 
creates no greater risk of their avoiding detection than the mobility 
of the avocado stem weevil, and that the same scope of export 
suspension should apply to avocado seed pests and the stem weevil. 
Given our years of experience with surveying and inspecting for these 
pests in Michoac[aacute]n, we have determined that the proposed changes 
are appropriate.
    As noted in the proposed rule, if avocado seed pests are present in 
places of production close to a place of production in which an avocado 
seed pest is found, the required surveys would find it in those nearby 
places of production, and we would suspend those places of production 
as well. The entire municipality would be suspended if the pests were 
detected in all places of production within that municipality.
    In addition, if circumstances were to change, and S. catenifer or 
any of the other seed pests were to suddenly begin infesting 
commercially produced avocado fruit across wide distances, our surveys 
and inspections would find the pest, and we would make any necessary 
adjustments to the program or suspend it while we determined 
appropriate mitigations for the pests.
    One commenter stated that suspension of orchards and packinghouses 
when a pest is found can and should be based on the scientific evidence 
of the biology of the particular pest and its known mobility at various 
stages. Such suspensions should be no greater than scientifically 
necessary to protect against exported avocados being a pathway for 
infestations.
    The changes in this final rule limit suspension to the orchard or 
packinghouse where a pest is found. If the commenter is recommending 
suspending only portions of an orchard or packinghouse when a pest of 
particularly low mobility is found in the orchard or packinghouse, we 
would not consider that operationally feasible, since avocados and 
pests may be moved around freely within orchards or packinghouses.
    One commenter stated that, from the inception of the export 
program, APHIS has based its assumptions about S. catenifer and other 
seed pests on the results of fruit cutting. The commenter stated that 
small larvae of these pests may easily be overlooked in fruit that, in 
all respects, appears uninfested or damage-free. Consequently, the 
commenter stated, orchard surveys that rely on fruit cutting should not 
inform APHIS' decisionmaking on the mobility of avocado seed pests.
    We disagree with the commenter. Inspection using fruit cutting is 
an effective mitigation for these pests. Avocado fruit discolor 
immediately when larvae bore tunnels in the fruit, meaning that damage 
can be easily detected in cut fruit. Inspection has served as an 
effective mitigation thus far in preventing the introduction of these 
pests into the United States, even given the great volumes of Hass 
avocados that have been imported since the beginning of the program.

Other Issues

    One commenter recommended that we remove paragraphs (f) and (h) 
from Sec.  319.56-30, as paragraph (f) relates to restrictions that 
have been removed from the regulations and paragraph (h) is duplicated 
by paragraph (g).
    We agree. In a final rule published in the Federal Register on 
October 29, 2010 (75 FR 66643-66644, Docket No. APHIS-2008-0016), we 
made these changes, although we removed paragraph (g) rather than 
paragraph (h).
    That final rule also revised paragraph (c)(3)(vii) to accommodate 
the use of bulk shipping bins for Hass avocados from Mexico and to 
remove outdated restrictions. That paragraph has also contained the box 
marking requirements reflecting the prohibition on importing Hass 
avocados from Mexico into Puerto Rico or the U.S. territories. We had 
proposed to remove the last two sentences of the paragraph, which 
contained the box marking requirement and the outdated restrictions; 
instead, this final rule specifically removes the box marking 
requirement.
    One commenter stated that the administrative instructions found in 
7 CFR 352.29 were published to support and maintain the former shipping 
restrictions on Mexican Hass avocados, which were removed several years 
ago. This commenter stated that there are no longer any restrictions on 
moving Mexican avocados through the United States. The commenter stated 
that these administrative instructions no longer serve any valid 
purpose and should be eliminated to avoid confusion by the public.
    The commenter misunderstands the scope and purpose of Sec.  352.29, 
which regulates the movement of all avocados from anywhere in Mexico 
through the United States, rather than the importation of avocados into 
the United States. The regulations in Sec.  319.56-30 allow only Hass 
variety avocados from the State of Michoac[aacute]n to be imported into 
the United States. However, when exporting to countries other than the 
United States, Mexican producers and exporters may wish to move 
avocados of other varieties or from other areas of Mexico through the 
United States before the avocados arrive at their ultimate destination, 
in order to use U.S. ports of export. The provisions in Sec.  352.29 
allow such transit to occur safely.
    One commenter presented extensive information on the use of sex 
pheromones to lure and trap S. catenifer and recommended that we work 
with the Mexican NPPO to deploy pheromone traps for monitoring and 
detection purposes in Michoac[aacute]n.
    We appreciate the commenter updating us on the progress of this 
research. We will review the information submitted and consider whether 
to incorporate pheromone trapping into the Mexican Hass avocado export 
program. If we determine that requiring such trapping would be useful, 
we will publish a proposed rule and take public comment on the use of 
pheromone trapping.
    One commenter complimented the NPPO of Peru on its cooperation in 
researching S. catenifer and recommended that we encourage and 
facilitate a level of cooperation between California scientists and the 
Mexican NPPO comparable to the level of cooperation those scientists 
receive from the NPPO of Peru.
    We support the Mexican NPPO working with private collaborators on 
managing quarantine pest problems. As

[[Page 81376]]

members of the North American Plant Protection Organization, APHIS and 
the Mexican NPPO share a commitment to controlling and eliminating 
quarantine pest populations. We will continue to encourage 
collaboration with private groups should opportunities arise.
    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.

Effective Date

    This is a substantive rule that relieves restrictions and, pursuant 
to the provisions of 5 U.S.C. 553, may be made effective less than 30 
days after publication in the Federal Register.
    Immediate implementation of this rule is necessary to provide 
relief to those persons who are adversely affected by restrictions we 
no longer find warranted. The shipping season for Hass avocados from 
Mexico is year-round. Making this rule effective immediately will allow 
interested producers and others in the marketing chain to benefit from 
these changes. Therefore, the Administrator of the Animal and Plant 
Health Inspection Service has determined that this rule should be 
effective upon publication in the Federal Register.

Executive Order 12866 and Regulatory Flexibility Act

    This final 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 
on the Regulations.gov Web site (see footnote 1 in this document for a 
link to Regulations.gov) or by contacting the person listed under FOR 
FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT.
    Puerto Rico has a relatively small avocado industry, importing most 
of its supply from the Dominican Republic. In 2007, 737 Puerto Rican 
farms harvested avocados, a significant decrease from the 1,217 farms 
reported in 2002, and suggesting an increasing reliance on imports. 
Most, if not all, of these farms are small. Most avocados grown in 
Puerto Rico, as in the rest of the Caribbean and in Florida, are not 
Hass variety but larger, smooth-skinned varieties.
    We expect this rule to primarily result in increased import 
competition. Any impacts for Puerto Rico's small entities will depend 
in part upon the extent to which Hass avocados imported from Mexico 
substitute for the larger, smooth-skinned varieties produced 
domestically. Avocado imports from Mexico will directly compete with 
Hass avocados that may be shipped from California.
    Other amendments included in this rule provide for the Mexican NPPO 
to use an approved designee to inspect avocados for export, and when 
seed pests are detected, for suspension of avocado imports from 
specific orchards or packinghouses rather than from the entire 
municipality where the affected orchards or packinghouses are located. 
These changes will benefit U.S. entities generally by facilitating the 
inspection process in Mexico and minimizing import disruptions and 
reductions due to pest detections.
    Under these circumstances, the Administrator of the Animal and 
Plant Health Inspection Service has determined that this action will 
not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small 
entities.

Executive Order 12988

    This final rule allows Hass avocados to be imported into Puerto 
Rico from Michoac[aacute]n, Mexico. State and local laws and 
regulations regarding Hass avocados imported under this rule will be 
preempted while the fruit is in foreign commerce. Fresh fruits are 
generally imported for immediate distribution and sale to the consuming 
public, and remain in foreign commerce until sold to the ultimate 
consumer. The question of when foreign commerce ceases in other cases 
must be addressed on a case-by-case basis. No retroactive effect will 
be given to this rule, and this rule will not require administrative 
proceedings before parties may file suit in court challenging this 
rule.

Paperwork Reduction Act

    This final 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.

0
Accordingly, we are amending 7 CFR part 319 as follows:

PART 319--FOREIGN QUARANTINE NOTICES

0
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.

0
2. Section 319.56-30 is amended as follows:
0
a. By revising paragraph (a)(2) to read as set forth below.
0
b. In paragraph (c)(3)(iv), by adding the words ``or its approved 
designee'' after the word ``NPPO''.
0
c. In paragraph (c)(3)(vii), by removing the words ``, and with the 
statement ``Not for importation or distribution in Puerto Rico or U.S. 
Territories.'' '' and adding a period in their place.
0
d. By revising paragraph (e) to read as set forth below.


Sec.  319.56-30  Hass avocados from Michoacan, Mexico.

* * * * *
    (a) * * *
    (2) Shipping restrictions. The avocados may be imported into and 
distributed in all States and in Puerto Rico, but not in any U.S. 
Territory.
* * * * *
    (e) Pest detection. If any of the avocado pests Heilipus lauri, 
Conotrachelus aguacatae, C. perseae, Copturus aguacatae, or Stenoma 
catenifer are detected during the semiannual pest surveys in a 
packinghouse, certified orchard or areas outside of certified orchards, 
or other monitoring or inspection activity in the municipality, the 
Mexican NPPO must immediately initiate an investigation and take 
measures to isolate and eradicate the pests. The Mexican NPPO must also 
provide APHIS with information regarding the circumstances of the 
infestation and the pest risk mitigation measures taken. Orchards 
affected by the pest detection will lose their export certification 
immediately, and avocado exports from that orchard will be suspended 
until APHIS and the Mexican NPPO agree that the pest eradication 
measures taken have been effective.
* * * * *

    Done in Washington, DC, this 21st day of December 2010.
Kevin Shea,
Acting Administrator, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.
[FR Doc. 2010-32589 Filed 12-27-10; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3410-34-P