[US] Food Imports, User Fees, Electronic Import System Among Topics of Forthcoming USDA Rules

The Department of Agriculture recently issued its semiannual regulatory agenda, which lists proposed and final regulations affecting international trade in agricultural goods that could be issued within the next year as well as rulemaking proceedings that have been in process for some time and are not as likely to see further progress in the near term.

Regulations Possible in 2013

- a proposed rule providing for approval of all new fruits and vegetables for importation into the U.S. using a notice-based process and removing region- or commodity-specific phytosanitary requirements (October)

- a proposed rule adding new user fee categories and adjusting current fees charged for certain agricultural quarantine and inspection services provided in connection with certain commercial vessels, trucks, rail cars and aircraft (September)

- a proposed rule on the Dairy Import Licensing Program (August)

- a proposed rule adding Namibia to the list of countries eligible to export meat products to the U.S. (January 2014)

- a final rule amending the regulations regarding the importation of bovines and bovine products (September)

- a final rule repealing all references to the GSM-103 (Intermediate Term Guarantee) program and incorporating improvements and changes to the implementation and operation of the GSM-102 (Export Credit Guarantee) program (August)

- a proposed rule allowing the importation of fresh (chilled or frozen) beef from a region in Brazil (August)

- a final rule prohibiting the importation of dogs for resale, research, or veterinary treatment unless the dogs are in good health, have all necessary vaccinations and are six months of age or older (September)

- a proposed rule adding Korea the list of countries eligible to export poultry products to the U.S. (August)

- an interim final rule requiring firewood of all species imported from Canada, including treated lumber (furniture scraps) sold as kindling, and all spruce logs imported from Nova Scotia to be heat-treated and accompanied by either a certificate of treatment or an attached commercial treatment label (September)

- a final rule that would (a) provide for the Public Health Information System Import Component, which provides an electronic alternative to the paper-based import inspection application and imported product foreign inspection and foreign establishment certificate processes, (b) delete the discontinued “streamlined” import inspection procedures for Canadian product and (c) require sanitation standard operating procedures at official import establishments (September)

- a final rule prohibiting or restricting the importation of birds, poultry, and bird and poultry products from regions that have reported the presence in commercial birds or poultry of highly pathogenic avian influenza if any subtype (September)

Regulations in Process

- a proposed rule to amend the bovine spongiform encephalopathy and scrapie regulations to make further clarifications regarding the importation of live sheep, goats and wild ruminants and their embryos, semen, products and byproducts

- a final rule removing the exemption allowing wood packaging material from Canada to enter the U.S. without first meeting the treatment and marking requirements of the regulations that apply to wood packaging material from all other countries

This has been excerpted from the 6 August 2013 article by Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg LLP.