[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 69 (Thursday, April 10, 2014)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 19840-19844]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-08019]


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DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service

7 CFR Part 319

[Docket No. APHIS-2013-0059]
RIN 0579-AD85


Importation of Fresh Unshu Oranges From Japan Into the 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 Japan that are no longer necessary. 
Specifically, we propose to remove requirements for the fruit to be 
grown in specified canker-free export areas with buffer zones and for 
joint inspection in the groves and packinghouses by the Government of 
the Republic of Japan and the Animal and Plant Health Inspection 
Service. We would also clarify that surface sterilization of the fruit 
must be conducted in accordance with our regulations. 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. These proposed changes 
would make the regulations concerning the importation of Unshu oranges 
from Japan 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 June 
9, 2014.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments by either of the following methods:
     Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=APHIS-2013-0059.
     Postal Mail/Commercial Delivery: Send your comment to 
Docket No. APHIS-2013-0059, Regulatory Analysis and Development, PPD, 
APHIS, Station 3A-03.8, 4700 River Road, Unit 118, Riverdale, MD 20737-
1238.
    Supporting documents and any comments we receive on this docket may 
be viewed at http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=APHIS-2013-
0059 or in our reading room, which 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) 799-7039 before coming.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ms. Meredith Jones, Regulatory Policy 
Specialist, Regulations, Permits, and Manuals, PPQ, APHIS, 4700 River 
Road, Unit 156, Riverdale, MD 20737; (301) 851-2289.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Background

    Citrus canker is a plant disease that is caused by a complex of 
Xanthomonas spp. bacteria and that affects plants and

[[Page 19841]]

plant parts of citrus and citrus relatives (Family Rutaceae). The 
regulations in ``Subpart-Citrus Fruit'' (7 CFR 319.28) prohibit the 
importation of fruit from areas infected with certain citrus diseases, 
including citrus canker, unless the fruit is imported under conditions 
specified in that section.
    Currently, the regulations in paragraph (b) of Sec.  319.28 
(referred to below as the regulations) allow the importation of Unshu 
oranges (Citrus reticulata Blanco var. unshu) from certain areas in 
Japan, 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, the citrus fruit fly (Bactrocera 
tsuneonis), and other quarantine plant pests such as mealybugs, mites, 
disease vectors, and armored scale pests. We last updated these 
requirements in a final rule published in the Federal Register on 
February 1, 2002 (67 FR 4873-4877, Docket No. 99-099-2). The amendments 
we made in the 2002 final rule were based on a pest risk assessment 
(PRA) that identified these pests as quarantine pests of Japanese 
citrus and identified measures to prevent their introduction into the 
United States.
    Certain requirements in the preclearance program are directed 
specifically towards citrus canker. Under the current regulations, 
Unshu oranges intended for export to the United States from Japan must 
be grown and packed in isolated, canker-free export areas established 
by the national plant protection organization (NPPO) of Japan. The 
regulations also require the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service 
(APHIS) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the NPPO of Japan to 
inspect fruit in the groves prior to and during harvest, and in the 
packinghouses during packing operations, to ensure that the fruit are 
free of citrus canker. Surface sterilization of the fruit, as 
prescribed by APHIS, is required prior to packing.
    Other requirements address the other pests that we have identified 
as affecting Unshu oranges from Japan. These include trapping for the 
citrus fruit fly and exclusion of imports from areas where the fly is 
found and requirements that the fruit either be fumigated with methyl 
bromide for pests or that its distribution be restricted to States 
other than commercial citrus-producing States, to ensure that the pests 
are not introduced into those States.
    The NPPO of Japan has requested that APHIS reanalyze the pest risk 
associated with the importation of Unshu oranges from Japan. In 
response to that request, we have developed an updated PRA, which 
incorporates new scientific evidence found since the preparation of the 
earlier PRA. The updated PRA can be viewed on the Internet on the 
Regulations.gov Web site \1\ or in our reading room.
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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 PRA by calling or writing the person listed 
under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT.
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    The updated PRA, titled ``Importation of Japanese Unshu Orange, 
Citrus reticulata Blanco var. Unshu, Fruit into the Continental United 
States: A Pathway-Initiated Risk Analysis'' (April 23, 2013), 
identifies 26 arthropods as quarantine pests that could follow the 
pathway of imported Unshu oranges from Japan. However, these pests are 
adequately mitigated by the existing systems approach conditions 
specific to arthropod pests.
    The PRA identifies two diseases as pests of Unshu oranges from 
Japan: Citrus canker and citrus greening, ``Candidatus Liberobacter 
asiaticus.'' However, the PRA determined that citrus greening is highly 
unlikely to be introduced into the United States via the importation of 
fruit for consumption, and thus did not analyze this pest further.
    The PRA rates citrus canker as having a medium risk potential. 
Pests receiving a rating within the medium range may require specific 
phytosanitary measures in addition to standard port-of-entry 
inspection.
    Based on the conclusions of the PRA, we prepared a risk management 
document outlining the conditions under which Unshu oranges from Japan 
could safely be imported into the continental United States. The 
conditions include:
     Importation of the fruit in commercial consignments that 
are practically free of leaves, twigs, and other plant parts, except 
for stems that are less than 1 inch long and attached to the fruit. 
Noncommercial consignments are more prone to infestations because the 
commodity is often ripe to overripe, could be of a variety with unknown 
susceptibility to pests, and is often grown with little or no pest 
control. APHIS has defined commercial consignments as consignments that 
an inspector identifies as having been imported for sale and 
distribution. Such identification is based on a variety of indicators, 
including, but not limited to: Quantity of produce, type of packaging, 
identification of grower or packinghouse on the packaging, and 
documents consigning the fruits or vegetables to a wholesaler or 
retailer. Excluding leaves and stems from consignments of imported 
Unshu oranges would help to prevent citrus canker from being introduced 
into the United States, since canker lesions on leaves harbor much 
higher bacterial populations than canker lesions on fruit.
     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 
Japan, and certification that the fruit has been treated in accordance 
with the regulations.
    We are therefore proposing to incorporate those requirements into 
the regulations pertaining to the importation of Unshu oranges from 
Japan. (As noted above, the existing regulations do require surface 
sterilization of the fruit as prescribed by APHIS. 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.) \2\
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    \2\ 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/downloads/treatment.pdf. The approved citrus canker 
treatment schedule for imported citrus fruit is the same as that for 
domestic citrus fruit.
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    We are also proposing to remove requirements associated with the 
importation of Unshu oranges from Japan 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 NPPO of Japan and APHIS prior to and 
during harvest and in the packinghouses during packing operations. 
These changes are based on our conclusions in a final rule published in 
the Federal Register and effective on October 22, 2009 (74 FR 54431-
54445, Docket No. APHIS-2009-0023). That final rule 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.
    In that final rule, we determined that commercially packed and 
disinfected fresh citrus fruit, even fruit with visible citrus canker 
lesions, is not an epidemiologically significant pathway for the spread 
of Xanthomonas spp.

[[Page 19842]]

bacteria. Accordingly, we removed a requirement for an APHIS inspector 
to be in the packinghouse and inspect fruit leaving an area quarantined 
for citrus canker to ensure that it was free of citrus canker lesions, 
as well as a prohibition on the interstate movement of citrus fruit 
from quarantined areas to commercial citrus-producing States. 
Considering our determination about the epidemiological significance of 
fruit as a pathway for citrus canker, it is similarly unnecessary to 
ensure that Unshu orange orchards and the fruit produced from those 
orchards are free of citrus canker before the Unshu oranges are 
exported to the United 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 Japan and APHIS in the 
groves and packinghouses would parallel the changes we made in 2009 to 
the domestic citrus canker regulations and thus harmonize these 
regulations with our domestic regulations. Similarly, our proposed 
requirement that Japanese packinghouses be registered with the NPPO of 
Japan 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 must enter into compliance agreements with 
APHIS. Like domestic compliance agreements, registration of 
packinghouses by the NPPO of Japan will allow for oversight in 
conducting the required treatment and adhering to other requirements 
related to packing (for example, box marking to reflect distribution 
restrictions).

Changes to the Regulations

    Paragraph (b)(1) of Sec.  319.28 currently sets out the requirement 
that Unshu oranges from Japan be exported to the United States only 
from canker-free areas. We are proposing to replace this requirement 
with a requirement that the fruit must be imported in commercial 
consignments that are practically free of leaves, twigs, and other 
plant parts, as discussed earlier.
    Paragraph (b)(2) sets out trapping requirements related to the 
citrus fruit fly for production areas on Kyushu Island. These 
requirements refer to trapping both in orange export areas and in 
buffer zones, which are currently described in paragraph (b)(1) as 400 
meters wide. We would amend paragraph (b)(2) to remove the requirement 
for trapping in buffer zones. The paragraph requires trapping to be 
conducted as prescribed by the NPPO of Japan and APHIS. Removing the 
specific distance requirement from the regulations would allow the NPPO 
of Japan and APHIS to determine how big a buffer zone around each Unshu 
export area needs to be incorporated into the trapping, based on local 
conditions, and to adjust the zone if circumstances change or new 
information is found. The requirement would otherwise remain unchanged.
    Paragraph (b)(3) requires joint inspection of Unshu oranges in the 
groves and in the packinghouses by the NPPO of Japan and APHIS. We are 
proposing to remove this requirement. Instead, the current requirement 
in paragraph (b)(4) that the fruit be given a surface sterilization 
would be moved to paragraph (b)(3), with the changes discussed above. 
Paragraph (b)(4) would indicate that the packinghouse in which the 
surface sterilization treatment is applied and the fruit is packed must 
be registered with the NPPO of Japan.
    We are proposing to add a new paragraph (b)(5) indicating that the 
Unshu oranges from Japan must be accompanied by a phytosanitary 
certificate issued by the NPPO of Japan with an additional declaration 
that the Unshu oranges were packed and produced in accordance with 7 
CFR 319.28. We would renumber current paragraphs (b)(5), (b)(6), and 
(b)(7) as paragraphs (b)(6), (b)(7), and (b)(8), respectively.

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).
    APHIS received a request from the Government of Japan to reassess 
the requirements for importing Unshu oranges into the continental 
United States. The proposed rule would harmonize our regulations that 
allow importation of Unshu oranges from Japan with our domestic citrus 
canker regulations.
    Easy-peel, sweet, juicy, seedless mandarin varieties, including 
Unshu oranges, are gaining popularity in the United States. The United 
States does not commercially produce Unshu oranges, but does produce 
various similar mandarin varieties. U.S. production of these mandarin 
varieties doubled in 6 years, from a quarter million metric tons (MT) 
in 2007 to almost half a million MT in 2012. Production values of 
mandarin varieties more than doubled, from $141 million in 2007 to $336 
million in 2012. In general, harvesting and marketing activities are 
most active between January 1 and March 31 in California and between 
November 15 and March 15 in Florida. U.S. imports of mandarin varieties 
averaged about 142,000 MT per year, valued at $178 million, between 
2010 and 2012, with Chile, Spain, Peru, and Morocco the main sources. 
Net imports (imports minus exports) averaged about 100,000 MT per year.
    In 2012, Japan exported 2,400 MT of Unshu oranges valued at $4.5 
million. Canada was the main destination, accounting for 83 percent of 
Japan's exports (2,000 MT). Unshu oranges have not been imported from 
Japan into the United States for the last 3 years. Between 1996 and 
2009, the United States imported about 200 MT of Unshu oranges from 
Japan annually, valued at about $340,000, only during the months of 
November and December. They were typically sold at a premium in ethnic 
specialty stores and through small-package direct delivery to customers 
who celebrated the New Year's holidays.
    Reportedly, up to 500 MT of Unshu oranges may be imported from 
Japan under the proposed rule. Given the much lower volumes and 
restricted seasonality of past Unshu orange imports from Japan (about 
200 MT annually imported, and only during the months of November and 
December), 500 MT may be an ambitious goal. The 500 MT would be 
equivalent to less than one-tenth of 1 percent of the U.S. supply of 
mandarin varieties in 2012.
    Korea is currently the principal source of Unshu oranges imported 
by the United States. Even if imports from Japan were to reach 500 MT, 
we expect any product displacement that would occur would be largely 
borne by Korean Unshu orange suppliers. The extent to which U.S. 
producers of other mandarin varieties may be affected would depend upon 
the quantity imported, the degree to which consumers may substitute 
Unshu oranges for the other mandarin varieties, and their price 
competitiveness. The Japanese Unshu orange share of the U.S. market for 
mandarin varieties is expected to be negligible; past imports have 
served a specialty market during a limited time

[[Page 19843]]

of the year; and they garner a premium price. Collectively, these 
conditions lead to the conclusion that any effect of the proposed rule 
for U.S. producers of other mandarin varieties would be small.
    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 change the requirements for Unshu oranges 
to be imported into the continental United States from Japan. 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 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

    In accordance with section 3507(d) of the Paperwork Reduction Act 
of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.), the information collection or 
recordkeeping requirements included in this proposed rule have been 
submitted for approval to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). 
Please send written comments to the Office of Information and 
Regulatory Affairs, OMB, Attention: Desk Officer for APHIS, Washington, 
DC 20503. Please state that your comments refer to Docket No. APHIS-
2013-0059. Please send a copy of your comments to: (1) APHIS, using one 
of the methods described under ADDRESSES at the beginning of this 
document, and (2) Clearance Officer, OCIO, USDA, Room 404-W, 14th 
Street and Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20250. A comment to 
OMB is best assured of having its full effect if OMB receives it within 
30 days of publication of this proposed rule.
    Implementing this rule will require phytosanitary certificates and 
registration of packinghouses.
    We are soliciting comments from the public (as well as affected 
agencies) concerning our proposed information collection and 
recordkeeping requirements. These comments will help us:
    (1) Evaluate whether the proposed information collection is 
necessary for the proper performance of our agency's functions, 
including whether the information will have practical utility;
    (2) Evaluate the accuracy of our estimate of the burden of the 
proposed information collection, including the validity of the 
methodology and assumptions used;
    (3) Enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to 
be collected; and
    (4) Minimize the burden of the information collection on those who 
are to respond (such as through the use of appropriate automated, 
electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection techniques or 
other forms of information technology; e.g., permitting electronic 
submission of responses).
    Estimate of burden: Public reporting burden for this collection of 
information is estimated to average 0.5 hours per response.
    Respondents: The NPPO of Japan and Unshu orange packinghouses.
    Estimated annual number of respondents: 2.
    Estimated annual number of responses per respondent: 8.
    Estimated annual number of responses: 16.
    Estimated total annual burden on respondents: 8 hours. (Due to 
averaging, the total annual burden hours may not equal the product of 
the annual number of responses multiplied by the reporting burden per 
response.)
    Copies of this information collection can be obtained from Mrs. 
Celeste Sickles, APHIS' Information Collection Coordinator, at (301) 
851-2908.

E-Government Act Compliance

    The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service is committed to 
compliance with the EGovernment Act to promote the use of the Internet 
and other information technologies, to provide increased opportunities 
for citizen access to Government information and services, and for 
other purposes. For information pertinent to E-Government Act 
compliance related to this proposed rule, please contact Mrs. Celeste 
Sickles, APHIS' Information Collection Coordinator, at (301) 851-2908.

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

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 319.28 is amended as follows:
0
a. In paragraph (b) introductory text, by removing the words 
``paragraph (b)(7)'' and adding the words ``paragraph (b)(8)'' in their 
place.
0
b. By revising paragraphs (b)(1) through (b)(4).
0
c. By redesignating current paragraphs (b)(5), (b)(6), and (b)(7) as 
paragraphs (b)(6), (b)(7), and (b)(8), respectively.
0
d. By adding a new paragraph (b)(5).
    The addition and revisions read as follows:


Sec.  319.28  Notice of quarantine.

* * * * *
    (b) * * *
    (1) The Unshu oranges must be imported in commercial consignments 
that are practically free of leaves, twigs, and other plant parts, 
except for stems that are less than 1 inch long and attached to the 
fruit.
    (2) In Unshu orange export areas 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) Before packing, the oranges must be given a surface 
sterilization in accordance with part 305 of this chapter.
    (4) The packinghouse in which the surface sterilization treatment 
is applied and the fruit is packed must be registered with the Japanese 
Government's Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries.
    (5) Unshu oranges imported from Japan must be accompanied by a 
phytosanitary certificate issued by the Japanese Government's Ministry 
of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries with an additional declaration 
that the Unshu oranges were packed and produced in accordance with 7 
CFR 319.28.
* * * * *


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    Done in Washington, DC, this 4th day of April 2014.
Kevin Shea,
Administrator, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.
[FR Doc. 2014-08019 Filed 4-9-14; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3410-34-P