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USDA/APHIS RIN: 0579-AD71 Publication ID: Fall 2013 
Title: Establishing a Performance Standard for Authorizing the Importation and Interstate Movement of Fruits and Vegetables 
Abstract: This rulemaking would amend our regulations governing the importations of fruits and vegetables by broadening our existing performance standard to provide for consideration of all new fruits and vegetables for importation into the United States using a notice-based process. It would also remove the region- or commodity-specific phytosanitary requirements currently found in these regulations. Likewise, we are proposing an equivalent revision of the performance standard in our regulations governing the interstate movements of fruits and vegetables from Hawaii and the U.S. territories (Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands) and the removal of commodity-specific phytosanitary requirements from those regulations. This proposal would allow for the consideration of requests to authorize the importation or interstate movement of new fruits and vegetables in a manner that enables a more flexible and responsive regulatory approach to evolving pest situations in both the United States and exporting countries. It would not, however, alter the science-based process in which the risk associated with importation or interstate movement of a given fruit or vegetable is evaluated or the manner in which risks associated with the importation or interstate movement of a fruit or vegetable are mitigated. 
Agency: Department of Agriculture(USDA)  Priority: Other Significant 
RIN Status: Previously published in the Unified Agenda Agenda Stage of Rulemaking: Proposed Rule Stage 
Major: No  Unfunded Mandates: No 
CFR Citation: 7 CFR 318 and 319   
Legal Authority: 7 USC 450    7 USC 7701 to 7772    7 USC 7781 to 7786    21 USC 136 and 136a   
Legal Deadline:  None

Statement of Need: The revised regulations are needed to streamline the administrative process involved in consideration of fruits and vegetables currently not authorized for interstate movement or importation, while continuing to provide opportunity for public comment and engagement on the science and risk-based analysis associated with such imports and interstate movements. The proposal would also enable us to adapt our import requirements more quickly in the event of any changes to a country's pest or disease status or as a result of new scientific information or treatment options.

Summary of the Legal Basis: Under section 7701 of the Plant Protection Act (PPA), given that the smooth movement of enterable plants and plant products into, out of, or within the United States is vital to the U.S. economy, it is the responsibility of the Secretary of Agriculture to facilitate exports, imports, and interstate commerce in agricultural products and other commodities that pose a risk of harboring plant pests or noxious weeds in ways that will reduce, to the extent practicable, as determined by the Secretary, the risk of dissemination of plant pests or noxious weeds. Decisions regarding exports, imports, and interstate commerce are required to be based on sound science.

Alternatives: We considered taking no action at this time and leaving the regulations as they are currently written. We decided against this alternative because leaving the regulations unchanged would not address the needs identified immediately above.

Anticipated Costs and Benefits: Consumers and businesses would benefit from the more timely access to fruits and vegetables for which entry or movement would currently require rulemaking. This benefit would be reduced to the extent that certain businesses would face increased competition for the subject fruits and vegetables sooner due to their more timely approval. APHIS has not identified other costs that may be incurred because of the proposed rule.

Risks: The performance-based process more closely links APHIS' decision to authorize importation of a fruit or vegetable with the pest risk assessment and brings us in line with other countries that authorize importation of a fruit or vegetable with the pest risk assessment. Some countries have viewed the rulemakings for fruits and vegetables that follow completion of the pest risk assessment as a non-technical trade barrier and may have slowed the approval of U.S. exports (including, but not limited to, fruits and vegetables) into their markets, or placed additional restrictions on existing exports from the United States.

Action Date FR Cite
NPRM  03/00/2014 
NPRM Comment Period End  05/00/2014 
Additional Information: Additional information about APHIS and its programs is available on the Internet at
Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: Yes  Government Levels Affected: Federal 
Small Entities Affected: Businesses  Federalism: No 
Included in the Regulatory Plan: Yes 
International Impacts: This regulatory action will be likely to have international trade and investment effects, or otherwise be of international interest.
RIN Data Printed in the FR: Yes 
Agency Contact:
Matthew Rhoads
Associate Executive Director, Plant Health Programs, PPQ
Department of Agriculture
Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service
4700 River Road, Unit 131,
Riverdale, MD 20737-1231
Phone:301 851-2133