Addition of the People's Republic of China to the List of Countries Eligible To Export Processed Poultry Products to the United States, 20867-20871 [06-3889]

Download as PDF 20867 Rules and Regulations Federal Register Vol. 71, No. 78 Monday, April 24, 2006 This section of the FEDERAL REGISTER contains regulatory documents having general applicability and legal effect, most of which are keyed to and codified in the Code of Federal Regulations, which is published under 50 titles pursuant to 44 U.S.C. 1510. The Code of Federal Regulations is sold by the Superintendent of Documents. Prices of new books are listed in the first FEDERAL REGISTER issue of each week. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Food Safety and Inspection Service 9 CFR Part 381 [Docket No. 05–012F; FDMS No. FSIS–2005– 0034] RIN 0583–AD20 Addition of the People’s Republic of China to the List of Countries Eligible To Export Processed Poultry Products to the United States Food Safety and Inspection Service, USDA. ACTION: Final rule. rwilkins on PROD1PC63 with RULES AGENCY: SUMMARY: The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is adding the People’s Republic of China to the list of countries eligible to export processed poultry products to the United States. Reviews of the People’s Republic of China’s laws, regulations, and other materials show that its poultry processing system includes requirements equivalent to the provisions of the Poultry Products Inspection Act (PPIA) and its implementing regulations. Processed poultry products from the People’s Republic of China may be imported into the United States only if they are processed in certified establishments in the People’s Republic of China from poultry slaughtered in certified slaughter establishments in other countries eligible to export poultry to the United States. China is not currently eligible to export poultry products to the United States that include birds that were slaughtered in China’s domestic establishments. All poultry products exported from China must comply with all other U.S. requirements, including the restrictions under the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS). All poultry products exported from the People’s VerDate Aug<31>2005 16:09 Apr 21, 2006 Jkt 208001 Republic of China to the United States will be subject to reinspection at the U.S. ports of entry by FSIS inspectors as required by law. DATES: Effective Date: May 24, 2006. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ms. Sally White, Director, International Equivalence Staff, Office of International Affairs; (202) 720–6400. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Background On November 23, 2005, FSIS proposed to amend the Federal poultry products inspection regulations to add the People’s Republic of China to the list of countries eligible to export processed poultry products to the United States (70 FR 70746). As discussed in that proposed rulemaking, in response to a request from the People’s Republic of China for approval to export processed poultry products to the United States, FSIS conducted a review of the People’s Republic of China’s poultry processing inspection system to determine if it was equivalent to the U.S. poultry inspection system. Although the People’s Republic of China requested approval to export processed poultry products, it will initially only export fully cooked, shelfstable product (see 70 FR at 70747). FSIS evaluated the People’s Republic of China’s poultry inspection laws and regulations and compared them with U.S. requirements. FSIS concluded that the requirements contained in the People’s Republic of China’s poultry inspection laws and regulations are equivalent to those mandated by the PPIA and implementing regulations. FSIS also conducted an on-site review of the People’s Republic of China’s poultry processing inspection system in operation. The FSIS review team concluded that the People’s Republic of China’s implementation of poultry processing standards and procedures is equivalent to that of the United States. The full report on the audit of the People’s Republic of China poultry inspection system can be found on the FSIS Web site at http:// www.fsis.usda.gov/regulations/ foreign_audit_reports/index.asp. Listing the People’s Republic of China as eligible to export poultry products to the United States would expand international markets and enhance the free flow of trade with the People’s Republic of China. This rule is PO 00000 Frm 00001 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 consistent with U.S. obligations under the WTO and will support U.S. trade initiatives and USDA’s policy with respect to agricultural trade with the People’s Republic of China. Under the World Trade Organization Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phyto-Sanitary Measures, FSIS makes equivalence determinations of the inspection systems of foreign countries that have requested to import meat, poultry, or egg products into the United States. As a country eligible to export processed poultry products to the United States, the government of the People’s Republic of China will certify to FSIS those establishments wishing to export such products to the U.S. and operating according to U.S. requirements. FSIS will retain the right to verify that establishments certified by the government of the People’s Republic of China government are meeting the U.S. requirements. This will be done through on-site reviews of the establishments while they are in operation. Products from a country eligible to export poultry products must also comply with all other U.S. requirements, including those of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the restrictions under Title 9, part 94 of the (APHIS) regulations that relate to the importation of poultry and poultry products from foreign countries into the United States. APHIS has classified China as a region where the highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) subtype H5N1 is considered to exist (9 CFR 94.6(d)). Those products that APHIS has restricted from entering the United States because of animal disease conditions in the country of origin will be refused entry before reaching an FSIS import inspection facility. FSIS and APHIS work closely to ensure that poultry and poultry products imported into the United States comply with the regulatory requirements of both agencies. APHIS and FSIS communicate regularly to ensure that the products APHIS has restricted from entering the United States because of animal disease concerns are not imported into the United States. Response to Comments FSIS received 34 comments in response to the proposed rule. Commenters included individual U.S. E:\FR\FM\24APR1.SGM 24APR1 rwilkins on PROD1PC63 with RULES 20868 Federal Register / Vol. 71, No. 78 / Monday, April 24, 2006 / Rules and Regulations citizens, the U.S. poultry industry, the South Dakota Department of Agriculture, and the South Dakota Animal Industry Board. FSIS also received a comment from the China Chamber of Commerce for Import/ Export of Food Stuffs, Native Produce and Animal By-Products, and comments from individuals from the People’s Republic of China and from the Chinese food industry. In addition, the Department of Agriculture received 5 letters from members of Congress opposed to the rule. The Department also received 6 letters from members of Congress that forwarded letters from their constituents concerning the proposal. The China Chamber of Commerce for Import/Export of Food Stuffs, Native Produce and Animal By-Products and other comments from individuals and food industry representatives from the People’s Republic of China supported the proposed rule. All other commenters opposed adding the People’s Republic of China to the list of countries eligible to export processed poultry products to the United States. Comment: Most commenters opposed to the rule stated that China should not be added to the list of countries eligible to export processed poultry and poultry products to the United States because of outbreaks of the infectious H5N1 strain of avian influenza in the country’s poultry. Response: USDA has determined that this rule will not adversely affect human health. FSIS is relying on a systematic equivalence determination of the poultry processing system in China to ensure the processing procedures in place in China are adequate to destroy the avian influenza virus in the preparation of shelf-stable, fully cooked poultry products. Additionally, USDA has determined this rule will not adversely affect animal health. APHIS is the USDA Agency primarily responsible for preventing the introduction and dissemination of foreign animal diseases into the United States. Under Title 9, part 94 of its regulations (9 CFR 94), APHIS sets restrictions on the importation of certain fresh, frozen, and chilled poultry, poultry products, and edible products from countries in which certain animal diseases exist. APHIS has classified China as a region where the highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) subtype H5N1 is considered to exist (9 CFR 94.6(d)). In addition, the United States Department of Health and Human Service, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, restricts the entry of birds and unprocessed bird products from China because of concerns over the VerDate Aug<31>2005 16:09 Apr 21, 2006 Jkt 208001 human health risks these items may pose (42 CFR 71.32(b), emergency order dated February 4, 2004). Even if a foreign country is listed in FSIS regulations as eligible to export poultry products, those poultry products must also comply with all other applicable U.S. requirements. Before a shipment of processed poultry or poultry products may be presented for reinspection at the port of entry by FSIS, it must have first met the requirements for both U.S. Customs and Border Protection and APHIS. Therefore, because APHIS has classified China as a region where the highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) subtype H5N1 is considered to exist (9 CFR 94.6(d)), APHIS has restricted the importation of fresh, frozen, and chilled poultry, and poultry products to protect animal health in the United States. China’s slaughter establishments have not at this time been determined equivalent for the slaughtering of poultry intended to be processed in China as shelf-stable, fully cooked poultry. Comment: Commenters opposed to the rule questioned how FSIS will ensure that poultry products processed in China for export to the United States will contain no poultry that was raised or slaughtered in China. Similarly, several commenters questioned whether FSIS can be certain that poultry plants in China are consistently cooking their products sufficiently to kill the avian influenza virus, that no improperly cooked poultry products will be shipped to the U.S., and that adequate safety measures are in place to guarantee that poultry sent to China for processing would be safe for consumption in the U.S. A commenter stated that annual inspections will do very little to make certain that Chinese plants meet U.S. requirements for exporting their product to the U.S. One commenter was concerned that shipping containers could contain microbes that should not be transferred into the U.S. Response: Under FSIS’ regulations, maintenance of eligibility of a country for importation of poultry products into the United States depends on the results of FSIS’ periodic reviews (audits) of the foreign poultry inspection system in operation, and the timely submission of such documents and other information related to the conduct of the foreign inspection system as FSIS may find pertinent to and necessary for the determinations concerning a foreign country’s eligibility (§ 381.196(a)(2)(iii)). These are standard procedures that FSIS carries out for all countries for continuing evaluation of equivalence. These are similar to the procedures used by other countries in evaluating foreign PO 00000 Frm 00002 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 systems for equivalency and continuing eligibility. The process inherently has the ability to adjust verification scope and frequency based on findings. Equivalency requirements for the sanitary handling of product must be maintained to ensure that product is protected during processing, handling, storage, loading and unloading, at and during transportation from official establishments. Under the regulations, only those establishments that an official of the People’s Republic of China’s poultry inspection system certifies as fully complying with requirements equivalent to the provisions of the PPIA and the regulations issued thereunder will be eligible to have their products imported to the United States. The People’s Republic of China will be required to renew these certifications annually (§ 381.196(a)(3)). China has agreed that it will require, and have procedures in place to ensure, that there is separation by time or space of product destined for export to the United States separate from product intended for distribution domestically. Appropriate records will be available for audit by U.S. officials. During FSIS’ audits of certified establishments in the People’s Republic of China, FSIS will review records, including supplier sheets and import and export records, to determine the origin of incoming poultry product received for further processing and the final destination of the product. Through these audits, FSIS will verify that any poultry product received for further processing in a certified establishment and ultimately exported to the U.S. was derived from poultry slaughtered in certified slaughter establishments in other countries eligible to export poultry to the United States. The regulations also require that a foreign inspection system, such as that in the People’s Republic of China, maintains a program to assure that the requirements equivalent to those in the U.S. are met. To assure that these requirements are being met, the regulations require that a representative of the foreign inspection system periodically visit each establishment certified as complying with requirements equivalent to those of the PPIA and implementing regulations. The regulations also require that this representative prepare written reports documenting findings concerning requirements equivalent to those of the poultry inspection system in the United States (§ 381.196(a)(2)(iv)). FSIS will evaluate these reports during audits. E:\FR\FM\24APR1.SGM 24APR1 rwilkins on PROD1PC63 with RULES Federal Register / Vol. 71, No. 78 / Monday, April 24, 2006 / Rules and Regulations Furthermore, each consignment containing any slaughtered poultry or other poultry product consigned to the United States from a foreign country, such as the People’s Republic of China, must be accompanied with a foreign inspection certificate that certifies that the products are sound, healthful, wholesome, clean and otherwise fit for human food; are not adulterated and have not been treated with and do not contain any dye, chemical, preservative, or ingredient not permitted by FSIS’ regulations; that the poultry products have been handled only in a sanitary manner in the foreign country; and are otherwise in compliance with requirements at least equal to those in the PPIA and FSIS’ regulations (§ 381.197). Thus, a representative of the Chinese government must certify that the product is not adulterated and has undergone adequate cooking and processing. In addition to relying on its initial determination of a country’s eligibility and performing ongoing reviews to ensure that products shipped to the U.S. are safe, wholesome and properly labeled and packaged, all poultry products exported to the United States from the People’s Republic of China will be subject to reinspection at the ports of entry for transportation damage, labeling, proper certification, general condition, and accurate count. Other types of inspection will also be conducted, including examining the product for defects and performing laboratory analyses that will detect chemical residues on the product or determine whether the product is microbiologically contaminated. Products that pass reinspection will be stamped with the official mark of inspection and allowed to enter U.S. commerce. If they do not meet U.S. requirements, they will be ‘‘Refused Entry’’ and must be re-exported, destroyed or converted to animal food. Comment: One commenter questioned whether FSIS will visit each Chinese plant annually. This same commenter stated that the USDA’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) found that problems identified by FSIS in Canada’s meat and poultry inspection system went uncorrected for two years or more. Another commenter stated that an initial FSIS equivalence audit of the People’s Republic of China revealed numerous serious deficiencies involving sanitation, cross contamination, and complete failure to understand FSIS’ requirements. Response: The final report regarding FSIS’ audit of the People’s Republic of China is found at http:// www.fsis.usda.gov/regulations/ VerDate Aug<31>2005 16:09 Apr 21, 2006 Jkt 208001 foreign_audit_reports/index.asp. This report highlights that the predominance of deficiencies were in slaughter facilities. However, this rule addresses the segment of the industry that is responsible for further processing of poultry. The few deficiencies that were identified in further processing were corrected by China and detailed corrective action plans were submitted by the Chinese government to FSIS. Regarding the violations that were found in the slaughter plants, the Chinese government continues to work with FSIS. Therefore, no equivalency determination has been made at this time for the slaughter segment of the system. The final report does indicate that the People’s Republic of China’s implementation of poultry processing standards and procedures for fully cooked, shelf stable processed poultry products are equivalent to those of the United States. The OIG findings concerning Canada’s meat and poultry inspection system are not related to FSIS’ audits of the People’s Republic of China. During audits of the People’s Republic of China’s inspection system, FSIS will conduct at least annual random audits of the establishments certified by the People’s Republic of China as complying with requirements equivalent to those in the PPIA and implementing regulations. While every establishment may not be visited annually, FSIS will conduct audits of one or more establishments annually or when deemed necessary. FSIS determines which establishments to visit based on performance history from re-inspection at import, audit history, information from other Federal agencies, and number of certified establishments. Comment: Several commenters expressed concerns regarding reports of illegal smuggling of poultry products from China and other areas affected by avian flu. Response: This rule is not expected to have any impact on illegal entry of products. The U.S. Customs and Border Protection, rather than FSIS, addresses smuggling. U.S. Customs and Border Protection works closely with FSIS on identifying illegal entry products and other ineligible products. Additionally, U.S. Customs and Border Protection serves as a first line of defense for all products entering the country. Products are first presented to U.S. Customs and Border Protection and if products are found to contain amenable product, FSIS is notified as appropriate. Comment: Numerous commenters objected to the rule for economic reasons. Commenters stated that the PO 00000 Frm 00003 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 20869 public perception of poultry imports from China and other Asian countries has been extremely negative and that the rule could undermine U.S. consumers’ confidence in poultry products. Several commenters stated that the proposal could negatively affect the U.S. poultry industry, particularly the smaller sectors of the U.S. poultry industry, such as duck, goose, and squab. According to these commenters, low grade Chinese products are produced at a fraction of the price of U.S. products because of lower wages and benefits. Some commenters stated that FSIS underestimated the volume of product that would be imported into the U.S. from the People’s Republic of China. One commenter that supported the rule stated that the benefits outlined in the proposal have been severely understated. This commenter opined that the rule would bring about greater competition and efficiency within the industry and lower prices for consumers. Response: Import quotas cannot be established to limit the potential economic impacts speculated upon by certain of the commenters. Economic and market realities, however, make it very unlikely that substantially larger amounts of processed poultry product than those estimated in the preliminary analysis would be available for the People’s Republic of China to export to the U.S. The People’s Republic of China’s internal market is experiencing a major growth in demand for poultry that is unlikely to abate for some time. The main prospective growth area for the People’s Republic of China’s agricultural exports is East Asia rather than North America. Energy costs, predicted to rise steadily in the foreseeable future, would also limit the economic capability of the People’s Republic of China to export significant amounts of processed poultry product to the U.S. However, in response to comments that stated that the preliminary analysis underestimated the volume of product that would be imported from the People’s Republic of China, FSIS estimated a range for the volume of fully cooked, shelf-stable poultry product that would be imported into the U.S. from the People’s Republic of China. In the final analysis, FSIS estimates that the volume of imported poultry product from China would range from 2,500,000 pounds (1,134 metric tons) to 6,250,000 pounds (2,835 metric tons) per year, for the next four years. Then, the growth would likely level off. The annual volume of imported poultry product from China would range from approximately 0.007 E:\FR\FM\24APR1.SGM 24APR1 20870 Federal Register / Vol. 71, No. 78 / Monday, April 24, 2006 / Rules and Regulations percent to 0.018 percent of the total poultry products production in the U.S. Although U.S. firms that produce products such as duck and geese products may compete with the People’s Republic of China’s imports and could conceivably face short-run difficulty, such firms will likely adjust their product mix and be able to compete effectively. FSIS does not believe that this rule will adversely affect the U.S. poultry industry, because the volume of trade that results from this rule will likely be small and have little effect on supply and prices or on U.S. consumers’ confidence in poultry products. In addition, consumers will not be required to purchase poultry products produced and processed in the People’s Republic of China. FSIS does not believe that it underestimated the benefits in the preliminary analysis. The preliminary and final analyses recognize that the any significant effects of the rule will come through efficiency gains. Comment: One commenter stated that the proposed rule was not disclosed to the public. Another commenter stated that the proposal was not given the public exposure that it warranted. Response: The proposed rule was published in the Federal Register. In addition, FSIS made the proposed rule available on its Web site. FSIS also made copies of the proposal available through the FSIS Constituent Update, which is used to provide information regarding FSIS policies, procedures, and regulations that could affect or would be of interest to FSIS’’ constituents and stakeholders. Comment: One commenter was opposed to allowing any foreign country to process food products for the U.S., several commenters recommended requiring country of origin labeling, and one comment stated that Chinese companies that do business with the U.S. should practice humane handling of poultry. Response: These comments were beyond the scope of this regulation. They are not being addressed in the regulation, but the Agency appreciates the comments. Executive Order 12866 and Regulatory Flexibility Act This rule was reviewed by the Office of Management and Budget under Executive Order 12866 and was determined to be significant. There are 10 to 25 establishments (based on recent information from the U.S. Embassy in Beijing, China) in the People’s Republic of China that may be exporting product to the U.S. when this rule is effective. The establishments will export shelf-stable, fully cooked poultry products. U.S. imports from these establishments are expected to total 2,500,000 pounds (1,134 metric tons) to 6,250,000 pounds (2,835 metric tons) per year, for the next four years. Then, the growth would likely level off. In 2005, the U.S. produced about 35,365,000,000 pounds (16,041,459 metric tons) of poultry products. Thus, the annual volume of imported poultry product from China would range from 0.007 percent (1,134.0 metric tons/ 16,041,459 metric tons) to 0.018 percent (2,835 metric tons/16,041,459 metric tons) of the poultry products production in the U.S. U.S. firms export large amounts of poultry and poultry products to the People’s Republic of China. Table A reflects U.S. exports of poultry and poultry products to the People’s Republic of China for the years 1998– 2003. This final rule will facilitate trade between the U.S. and the People’s Republic of China in poultry products in a manner consistent with U.S. obligations under the WTO, which will result in benefits. U.S. consumers will not be required to purchase poultry products produced and processed in the People’s Republic of China, although they may choose to do so. Expected benefits from this type of rule will theoretically accrue to consumers in the form of lower prices. The volume of trade stimulated by this rule, however, will likely be so small as to have little effect on supply and prices. Consumers, apart from any change in prices, will also benefit from increased choices in the marketplace. The costs of this rule will theoretically accrue to producers in the form of greater competition from the People’s Republic of China. Again, it must be noted that the volume of trade stimulated by this rule will likely be small and have little effect on supply and prices. Nonetheless, it is possible that U.S. firms that produce products, such as duck and geese products, that will compete with the People’s Republic of China imports could face increased competition. However, in the long run, such firms will likely adjust their product mix and be able to compete effectively. Any significant benefits of this rule will likely come through efficiency gains and potentially greater choice of products for consumers. FSIS reviewed the costs and benefits of the rule and determined that benefits will outweigh costs. The rule will not affect the safety of poultry products consumed in the U.S. Products will only be imported from the People’s Republic of China if the People’s Republic of China establishments can produce the products more efficiently than their U.S. counterparts. Then, U.S. firms will have the incentive to specialize in the production of products in which they are relatively more efficient. In the long run, this improved efficiency will make U.S. producers more competitive both domestically and internationally. TABLE A.—U.S. EXPORTS OF POULTRY PRODUCTS TO THE PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF CHINA, 1998–2003 [Data shown in metric tons] Product 1998 rwilkins on PROD1PC63 with RULES Poultry Meats ................................................................... Chickens, Fresh/Frozen ................................................... Poultry, Misc .................................................................... Poultry Meats, Prep ......................................................... Turkeys, Fresh/Frozen ..................................................... Other Poultry Fresh/Frozen ............................................. The data in Table A have been compiled from tariff and trade data from the U.S. Department of Commerce and the U.S. International Trade Commission. VerDate Aug<31>2005 16:09 Apr 21, 2006 Jkt 208001 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 41493.0 39007.7 18391.9 46.6 2437.5 1.2 61948.9 58762.5 15603.1 1518.1 1624.7 43.6 64787.2 61181.2 16204.1 1860.9 1624.0 121.2 62413.8 48786.6 19110.2 8562.6 4764.1 300.4 86871.4 70670.3 13962.8 8831.4 6986.2 383.5 136494.9 129617.8 47911.3 3796.6 2236.6 843.9 Effect on Small Entities The Administrator, FSIS, has determined that this final rule will not have a significant impact on a PO 00000 Frm 00004 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 substantial number of small entities, as defined by the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601). This rule would add the People’s Republic of China to the list of countries eligible to export E:\FR\FM\24APR1.SGM 24APR1 Federal Register / Vol. 71, No. 78 / Monday, April 24, 2006 / Rules and Regulations poultry products into the United States. Once the People’s Republic of China begins to export poultry products into the United States, the volume of shelfstable, fully cooked poultry products available in the U.S. market will likely increase by approximately 2,500,000 pounds (1,134.0 metric tons) to 6,250,000 pounds (2,835 metric tons) per year. However, this small volume of trade is unlikely to impact the supply and prices of these products. Therefore, this rule should have no significant impact on small entities that produce these types of products domestically. Paperwork Requirements No new paperwork requirements are associated with this final rule. Foreign countries wanting to export poultry products to the United States are required to provide information to FSIS certifying that its inspection system provides standards equivalent to those of the United States and that the legal authority for the system and its implementing regulations are equivalent to those of the United States before they may start exporting such product to the United States. FSIS collects this information one time only. FSIS gave the People’s Republic of China questionnaires asking for detailed information about the country’s inspection practices and procedures to assist the country in organizing its materials. This information collection was approved under OMB number 0583–0094. The rule contains no other paperwork requirements. rwilkins on PROD1PC63 with RULES Executive Order 12988 This rule has been reviewed under Executive Order 12988, Civil Justice Reform. When this final rule is adopted: (1) All state and local laws and regulations that are inconsistent with this rule will be preempted; (2) no retroactive effect will be given to this rule; and (3) administrative proceedings will not be required before parties may file suit in court challenging this rule. Additional Public Notification Public awareness of all segments of rulemaking and policy development is important. Consequently, in an effort to ensure that this final rule comes to the attention of the public—including minorities, women, and persons with disabilities—FSIS will announce it online through the FSIS Web page located at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/ regulations_&_policies/ 2006_Interim_&_Final_Rules_Index/ index.asp. The Regulations.gov Web site is the central online rulemaking portal of the United States government. It is being VerDate Aug<31>2005 16:09 Apr 21, 2006 Jkt 208001 offered as a public service to increase participation in the Federal Government’s regulatory activities. FSIS participates in Regulations.gov and will accept comments on documents published on the site. The site allows visitors to search by keyword or Department or Agency for rulemakings that allow for public comment. Each entry provides a quick link to a comment form so that visitors can type in their comments and submit them to FSIS. The Web site is located at http://www.regulations.gov. FSIS also will make copies of this Federal Register publication available through the FSIS Constituent Update, which is used to provide information regarding FSIS policies, procedures, regulations, Federal Register notices, FSIS public meetings, recalls, and other types of information that could affect or would be of interest to our constituents and stakeholders. The update is communicated via Listserv, a free e-mail subscription service consisting of industry, trade, and farm groups, consumer interest groups, allied health professionals, scientific professionals, and other individuals who have requested to be included. The update also is available on the FSIS Web page. Through Listserv and the Web page, FSIS is able to provide information to a broader and more diverse audience. In addition, FSIS offers an e-mail subscription service that provides automatic and customized access to selected food safety news and information. This service is available at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/ news_and_events/email_subscription/. Options range from recalls to export information to regulations, directives and notices. Customers can add or delete subscriptions themselves and have the option to password protect their accounts. List of Subjects 9 CFR Part 381 Imports, Intergovernmental relations, Poultry and poultry products. I For the reasons set out in the preamble, FSIS is amending 9 CFR part 381 as follows: PART 381—IMPORTED POULTRY PRODUCTS 1. The authority citation for part 381 continues to read as follows: I Authority: 7 U.S.C. 138f, 450; 21 U.S.C. 451–470; 7 CFR 2.18, 2.53. § 381.196 [Amended] 2. Section 381.196 is amended by adding ‘‘People’s Republic of China2’’ in alphabetical order to the list of countries in paragraph (b). I PO 00000 Frm 00005 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 20871 Done at Washington, DC, on: April 20, 2006. Barbara J. Masters, Administrator. [FR Doc. 06–3889 Filed 4–20–06; 10:16 am] BILLING CODE 3410–DM–P DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Aviation Administration 14 CFR Part 71 [Docket No. FAA–2006–23713; Airspace Docket No. 06–AAL–06] Revision of Class E Airspace; Togiak Village, AK Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT. ACTION: Final Rule. AGENCY: SUMMARY: This action revises Class E airspace at Togiak Village, AK to provide adequate controlled airspace to contain aircraft executing two new and two amended Standard Instrument Approach Procedures (SIAPs). This rule results in revised Class E airspace established upward from 700 feet (ft.) above the surface at Togiak Village, AK. EFFECTIVE DATE: 0901 UTC, August 3, 2006. Gary Rolf, AAL–538G, Federal Aviation Administration, 222 West 7th Avenue, Box 14, Anchorage, AK 99513–7587; telephone number (907) 271–5898; fax: (907) 271–2850; e-mail: gary.ctr.rolf@faa.gov. Internet address: http://www.alaska.faa.gov/at. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: History On Wednesday, February 15, 2006, the FAA proposed to amend part 71 of the Federal Aviation Regulations (14 CFR part 71) to revise Class E airspace upward from 700 ft. above the surface at Togiak, AK (71 FR 7888). The action was proposed in order to create Class E airspace sufficient in size to contain aircraft while executing two new and two amended SIAPs for the Togiak Airport. For clarification, the airspace action title uses the term ‘‘Togiak Village’’ after the town’s name, and the airport name is ‘‘Togiak Airport’’. The amended approaches are (1) Non Directional Beacon (NDB)/Distance Measuring Equipment (DME)–A, Amendment (Amdt) 1 and (2) NDB–B, Amdt 1. The new approaches are (1) Area Navigation (Global Positioning System) (RNAV (GPS)) RWY 03, Original; and (2) RNAV (GPS) RWY 21, Original. Class E controlled airspace E:\FR\FM\24APR1.SGM 24APR1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 71, Number 78 (Monday, April 24, 2006)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 20867-20871]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 06-3889]



========================================================================
Rules and Regulations
                                                Federal Register
________________________________________________________________________

This section of the FEDERAL REGISTER contains regulatory documents 
having general applicability and legal effect, most of which are keyed 
to and codified in the Code of Federal Regulations, which is published 
under 50 titles pursuant to 44 U.S.C. 1510.

The Code of Federal Regulations is sold by the Superintendent of Documents. 
Prices of new books are listed in the first FEDERAL REGISTER issue of each 
week.

========================================================================


Federal Register / Vol. 71, No. 78 / Monday, April 24, 2006 / Rules 
and Regulations

[[Page 20867]]



DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Food Safety and Inspection Service

9 CFR Part 381

[Docket No. 05-012F; FDMS No. FSIS-2005-0034]
RIN 0583-AD20


Addition of the People's Republic of China to the List of 
Countries Eligible To Export Processed Poultry Products to the United 
States

AGENCY: Food Safety and Inspection Service, USDA.

ACTION: Final rule.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is adding the 
People's Republic of China to the list of countries eligible to export 
processed poultry products to the United States. Reviews of the 
People's Republic of China's laws, regulations, and other materials 
show that its poultry processing system includes requirements 
equivalent to the provisions of the Poultry Products Inspection Act 
(PPIA) and its implementing regulations.
    Processed poultry products from the People's Republic of China may 
be imported into the United States only if they are processed in 
certified establishments in the People's Republic of China from poultry 
slaughtered in certified slaughter establishments in other countries 
eligible to export poultry to the United States. China is not currently 
eligible to export poultry products to the United States that include 
birds that were slaughtered in China's domestic establishments. All 
poultry products exported from China must comply with all other U.S. 
requirements, including the restrictions under the Animal and Plant 
Health Inspection Service (APHIS). All poultry products exported from 
the People's Republic of China to the United States will be subject to 
reinspection at the U.S. ports of entry by FSIS inspectors as required 
by law.

DATES: Effective Date: May 24, 2006.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ms. Sally White, Director, 
International Equivalence Staff, Office of International Affairs; (202) 
720-6400.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

    On November 23, 2005, FSIS proposed to amend the Federal poultry 
products inspection regulations to add the People's Republic of China 
to the list of countries eligible to export processed poultry products 
to the United States (70 FR 70746). As discussed in that proposed 
rulemaking, in response to a request from the People's Republic of 
China for approval to export processed poultry products to the United 
States, FSIS conducted a review of the People's Republic of China's 
poultry processing inspection system to determine if it was equivalent 
to the U.S. poultry inspection system. Although the People's Republic 
of China requested approval to export processed poultry products, it 
will initially only export fully cooked, shelf-stable product (see 70 
FR at 70747). FSIS evaluated the People's Republic of China's poultry 
inspection laws and regulations and compared them with U.S. 
requirements. FSIS concluded that the requirements contained in the 
People's Republic of China's poultry inspection laws and regulations 
are equivalent to those mandated by the PPIA and implementing 
regulations. FSIS also conducted an on-site review of the People's 
Republic of China's poultry processing inspection system in operation. 
The FSIS review team concluded that the People's Republic of China's 
implementation of poultry processing standards and procedures is 
equivalent to that of the United States. The full report on the audit 
of the People's Republic of China poultry inspection system can be 
found on the FSIS Web site at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/regulations/
foreign_audit_reports/index.asp.
    Listing the People's Republic of China as eligible to export 
poultry products to the United States would expand international 
markets and enhance the free flow of trade with the People's Republic 
of China. This rule is consistent with U.S. obligations under the WTO 
and will support U.S. trade initiatives and USDA's policy with respect 
to agricultural trade with the People's Republic of China. Under the 
World Trade Organization Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and 
Phyto-Sanitary Measures, FSIS makes equivalence determinations of the 
inspection systems of foreign countries that have requested to import 
meat, poultry, or egg products into the United States.
    As a country eligible to export processed poultry products to the 
United States, the government of the People's Republic of China will 
certify to FSIS those establishments wishing to export such products to 
the U.S. and operating according to U.S. requirements. FSIS will retain 
the right to verify that establishments certified by the government of 
the People's Republic of China government are meeting the U.S. 
requirements. This will be done through on-site reviews of the 
establishments while they are in operation.
    Products from a country eligible to export poultry products must 
also comply with all other U.S. requirements, including those of the 
U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the restrictions under Title 9, 
part 94 of the (APHIS) regulations that relate to the importation of 
poultry and poultry products from foreign countries into the United 
States. APHIS has classified China as a region where the highly 
pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) subtype H5N1 is considered to exist 
(9 CFR 94.6(d)). Those products that APHIS has restricted from entering 
the United States because of animal disease conditions in the country 
of origin will be refused entry before reaching an FSIS import 
inspection facility. FSIS and APHIS work closely to ensure that poultry 
and poultry products imported into the United States comply with the 
regulatory requirements of both agencies. APHIS and FSIS communicate 
regularly to ensure that the products APHIS has restricted from 
entering the United States because of animal disease concerns are not 
imported into the United States.

Response to Comments

    FSIS received 34 comments in response to the proposed rule. 
Commenters included individual U.S.

[[Page 20868]]

citizens, the U.S. poultry industry, the South Dakota Department of 
Agriculture, and the South Dakota Animal Industry Board. FSIS also 
received a comment from the China Chamber of Commerce for Import/Export 
of Food Stuffs, Native Produce and Animal By-Products, and comments 
from individuals from the People's Republic of China and from the 
Chinese food industry.
    In addition, the Department of Agriculture received 5 letters from 
members of Congress opposed to the rule. The Department also received 6 
letters from members of Congress that forwarded letters from their 
constituents concerning the proposal.
    The China Chamber of Commerce for Import/Export of Food Stuffs, 
Native Produce and Animal By-Products and other comments from 
individuals and food industry representatives from the People's 
Republic of China supported the proposed rule. All other commenters 
opposed adding the People's Republic of China to the list of countries 
eligible to export processed poultry products to the United States.
    Comment: Most commenters opposed to the rule stated that China 
should not be added to the list of countries eligible to export 
processed poultry and poultry products to the United States because of 
outbreaks of the infectious H5N1 strain of avian influenza in the 
country's poultry.
    Response: USDA has determined that this rule will not adversely 
affect human health. FSIS is relying on a systematic equivalence 
determination of the poultry processing system in China to ensure the 
processing procedures in place in China are adequate to destroy the 
avian influenza virus in the preparation of shelf-stable, fully cooked 
poultry products.
    Additionally, USDA has determined this rule will not adversely 
affect animal health. APHIS is the USDA Agency primarily responsible 
for preventing the introduction and dissemination of foreign animal 
diseases into the United States. Under Title 9, part 94 of its 
regulations (9 CFR 94), APHIS sets restrictions on the importation of 
certain fresh, frozen, and chilled poultry, poultry products, and 
edible products from countries in which certain animal diseases exist. 
APHIS has classified China as a region where the highly pathogenic 
avian influenza (HPAI) subtype H5N1 is considered to exist (9 CFR 
94.6(d)). In addition, the United States Department of Health and Human 
Service, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, restricts the 
entry of birds and unprocessed bird products from China because of 
concerns over the human health risks these items may pose (42 CFR 
71.32(b), emergency order dated February 4, 2004). Even if a foreign 
country is listed in FSIS regulations as eligible to export poultry 
products, those poultry products must also comply with all other 
applicable U.S. requirements. Before a shipment of processed poultry or 
poultry products may be presented for reinspection at the port of entry 
by FSIS, it must have first met the requirements for both U.S. Customs 
and Border Protection and APHIS. Therefore, because APHIS has 
classified China as a region where the highly pathogenic avian 
influenza (HPAI) subtype H5N1 is considered to exist (9 CFR 94.6(d)), 
APHIS has restricted the importation of fresh, frozen, and chilled 
poultry, and poultry products to protect animal health in the United 
States. China's slaughter establishments have not at this time been 
determined equivalent for the slaughtering of poultry intended to be 
processed in China as shelf-stable, fully cooked poultry.
    Comment: Commenters opposed to the rule questioned how FSIS will 
ensure that poultry products processed in China for export to the 
United States will contain no poultry that was raised or slaughtered in 
China. Similarly, several commenters questioned whether FSIS can be 
certain that poultry plants in China are consistently cooking their 
products sufficiently to kill the avian influenza virus, that no 
improperly cooked poultry products will be shipped to the U.S., and 
that adequate safety measures are in place to guarantee that poultry 
sent to China for processing would be safe for consumption in the U.S. 
A commenter stated that annual inspections will do very little to make 
certain that Chinese plants meet U.S. requirements for exporting their 
product to the U.S. One commenter was concerned that shipping 
containers could contain microbes that should not be transferred into 
the U.S.
    Response: Under FSIS' regulations, maintenance of eligibility of a 
country for importation of poultry products into the United States 
depends on the results of FSIS' periodic reviews (audits) of the 
foreign poultry inspection system in operation, and the timely 
submission of such documents and other information related to the 
conduct of the foreign inspection system as FSIS may find pertinent to 
and necessary for the determinations concerning a foreign country's 
eligibility (Sec.  381.196(a)(2)(iii)). These are standard procedures 
that FSIS carries out for all countries for continuing evaluation of 
equivalence. These are similar to the procedures used by other 
countries in evaluating foreign systems for equivalency and continuing 
eligibility. The process inherently has the ability to adjust 
verification scope and frequency based on findings.
    Equivalency requirements for the sanitary handling of product must 
be maintained to ensure that product is protected during processing, 
handling, storage, loading and unloading, at and during transportation 
from official establishments.
    Under the regulations, only those establishments that an official 
of the People's Republic of China's poultry inspection system certifies 
as fully complying with requirements equivalent to the provisions of 
the PPIA and the regulations issued thereunder will be eligible to have 
their products imported to the United States. The People's Republic of 
China will be required to renew these certifications annually (Sec.  
381.196(a)(3)). China has agreed that it will require, and have 
procedures in place to ensure, that there is separation by time or 
space of product destined for export to the United States separate from 
product intended for distribution domestically. Appropriate records 
will be available for audit by U.S. officials.
    During FSIS' audits of certified establishments in the People's 
Republic of China, FSIS will review records, including supplier sheets 
and import and export records, to determine the origin of incoming 
poultry product received for further processing and the final 
destination of the product. Through these audits, FSIS will verify that 
any poultry product received for further processing in a certified 
establishment and ultimately exported to the U.S. was derived from 
poultry slaughtered in certified slaughter establishments in other 
countries eligible to export poultry to the United States.
    The regulations also require that a foreign inspection system, such 
as that in the People's Republic of China, maintains a program to 
assure that the requirements equivalent to those in the U.S. are met. 
To assure that these requirements are being met, the regulations 
require that a representative of the foreign inspection system 
periodically visit each establishment certified as complying with 
requirements equivalent to those of the PPIA and implementing 
regulations. The regulations also require that this representative 
prepare written reports documenting findings concerning requirements 
equivalent to those of the poultry inspection system in the United 
States (Sec.  381.196(a)(2)(iv)). FSIS will evaluate these reports 
during audits.

[[Page 20869]]

    Furthermore, each consignment containing any slaughtered poultry or 
other poultry product consigned to the United States from a foreign 
country, such as the People's Republic of China, must be accompanied 
with a foreign inspection certificate that certifies that the products 
are sound, healthful, wholesome, clean and otherwise fit for human 
food; are not adulterated and have not been treated with and do not 
contain any dye, chemical, preservative, or ingredient not permitted by 
FSIS' regulations; that the poultry products have been handled only in 
a sanitary manner in the foreign country; and are otherwise in 
compliance with requirements at least equal to those in the PPIA and 
FSIS' regulations (Sec.  381.197). Thus, a representative of the 
Chinese government must certify that the product is not adulterated and 
has undergone adequate cooking and processing.
    In addition to relying on its initial determination of a country's 
eligibility and performing ongoing reviews to ensure that products 
shipped to the U.S. are safe, wholesome and properly labeled and 
packaged, all poultry products exported to the United States from the 
People's Republic of China will be subject to reinspection at the ports 
of entry for transportation damage, labeling, proper certification, 
general condition, and accurate count. Other types of inspection will 
also be conducted, including examining the product for defects and 
performing laboratory analyses that will detect chemical residues on 
the product or determine whether the product is microbiologically 
contaminated.
    Products that pass reinspection will be stamped with the official 
mark of inspection and allowed to enter U.S. commerce. If they do not 
meet U.S. requirements, they will be ``Refused Entry'' and must be re-
exported, destroyed or converted to animal food.
    Comment: One commenter questioned whether FSIS will visit each 
Chinese plant annually. This same commenter stated that the USDA's 
Office of Inspector General (OIG) found that problems identified by 
FSIS in Canada's meat and poultry inspection system went uncorrected 
for two years or more. Another commenter stated that an initial FSIS 
equivalence audit of the People's Republic of China revealed numerous 
serious deficiencies involving sanitation, cross contamination, and 
complete failure to understand FSIS' requirements.
    Response: The final report regarding FSIS' audit of the People's 
Republic of China is found at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/regulations/
foreign_audit_reports/index.asp. This report highlights that the 
predominance of deficiencies were in slaughter facilities. However, 
this rule addresses the segment of the industry that is responsible for 
further processing of poultry. The few deficiencies that were 
identified in further processing were corrected by China and detailed 
corrective action plans were submitted by the Chinese government to 
FSIS. Regarding the violations that were found in the slaughter plants, 
the Chinese government continues to work with FSIS. Therefore, no 
equivalency determination has been made at this time for the slaughter 
segment of the system. The final report does indicate that the People's 
Republic of China's implementation of poultry processing standards and 
procedures for fully cooked, shelf stable processed poultry products 
are equivalent to those of the United States. The OIG findings 
concerning Canada's meat and poultry inspection system are not related 
to FSIS' audits of the People's Republic of China.
    During audits of the People's Republic of China's inspection 
system, FSIS will conduct at least annual random audits of the 
establishments certified by the People's Republic of China as complying 
with requirements equivalent to those in the PPIA and implementing 
regulations. While every establishment may not be visited annually, 
FSIS will conduct audits of one or more establishments annually or when 
deemed necessary. FSIS determines which establishments to visit based 
on performance history from re-inspection at import, audit history, 
information from other Federal agencies, and number of certified 
establishments.
    Comment: Several commenters expressed concerns regarding reports of 
illegal smuggling of poultry products from China and other areas 
affected by avian flu.
    Response: This rule is not expected to have any impact on illegal 
entry of products. The U.S. Customs and Border Protection, rather than 
FSIS, addresses smuggling. U.S. Customs and Border Protection works 
closely with FSIS on identifying illegal entry products and other 
ineligible products. Additionally, U.S. Customs and Border Protection 
serves as a first line of defense for all products entering the 
country. Products are first presented to U.S. Customs and Border 
Protection and if products are found to contain amenable product, FSIS 
is notified as appropriate.
    Comment: Numerous commenters objected to the rule for economic 
reasons. Commenters stated that the public perception of poultry 
imports from China and other Asian countries has been extremely 
negative and that the rule could undermine U.S. consumers' confidence 
in poultry products. Several commenters stated that the proposal could 
negatively affect the U.S. poultry industry, particularly the smaller 
sectors of the U.S. poultry industry, such as duck, goose, and squab. 
According to these commenters, low grade Chinese products are produced 
at a fraction of the price of U.S. products because of lower wages and 
benefits. Some commenters stated that FSIS underestimated the volume of 
product that would be imported into the U.S. from the People's Republic 
of China.
    One commenter that supported the rule stated that the benefits 
outlined in the proposal have been severely understated. This commenter 
opined that the rule would bring about greater competition and 
efficiency within the industry and lower prices for consumers.
    Response: Import quotas cannot be established to limit the 
potential economic impacts speculated upon by certain of the 
commenters. Economic and market realities, however, make it very 
unlikely that substantially larger amounts of processed poultry product 
than those estimated in the preliminary analysis would be available for 
the People's Republic of China to export to the U.S. The People's 
Republic of China's internal market is experiencing a major growth in 
demand for poultry that is unlikely to abate for some time. The main 
prospective growth area for the People's Republic of China's 
agricultural exports is East Asia rather than North America. Energy 
costs, predicted to rise steadily in the foreseeable future, would also 
limit the economic capability of the People's Republic of China to 
export significant amounts of processed poultry product to the U.S. 
However, in response to comments that stated that the preliminary 
analysis underestimated the volume of product that would be imported 
from the People's Republic of China, FSIS estimated a range for the 
volume of fully cooked, shelf-stable poultry product that would be 
imported into the U.S. from the People's Republic of China. In the 
final analysis, FSIS estimates that the volume of imported poultry 
product from China would range from 2,500,000 pounds (1,134 metric 
tons) to 6,250,000 pounds (2,835 metric tons) per year, for the next 
four years. Then, the growth would likely level off. The annual volume 
of imported poultry product from China would range from approximately 
0.007

[[Page 20870]]

percent to 0.018 percent of the total poultry products production in 
the U.S. Although U.S. firms that produce products such as duck and 
geese products may compete with the People's Republic of China's 
imports and could conceivably face short-run difficulty, such firms 
will likely adjust their product mix and be able to compete 
effectively.
    FSIS does not believe that this rule will adversely affect the U.S. 
poultry industry, because the volume of trade that results from this 
rule will likely be small and have little effect on supply and prices 
or on U.S. consumers' confidence in poultry products. In addition, 
consumers will not be required to purchase poultry products produced 
and processed in the People's Republic of China.
    FSIS does not believe that it underestimated the benefits in the 
preliminary analysis. The preliminary and final analyses recognize that 
the any significant effects of the rule will come through efficiency 
gains.
    Comment: One commenter stated that the proposed rule was not 
disclosed to the public. Another commenter stated that the proposal was 
not given the public exposure that it warranted.
    Response: The proposed rule was published in the Federal Register. 
In addition, FSIS made the proposed rule available on its Web site. 
FSIS also made copies of the proposal available through the FSIS 
Constituent Update, which is used to provide information regarding FSIS 
policies, procedures, and regulations that could affect or would be of 
interest to FSIS'' constituents and stakeholders.
    Comment: One commenter was opposed to allowing any foreign country 
to process food products for the U.S., several commenters recommended 
requiring country of origin labeling, and one comment stated that 
Chinese companies that do business with the U.S. should practice humane 
handling of poultry.
    Response: These comments were beyond the scope of this regulation. 
They are not being addressed in the regulation, but the Agency 
appreciates the comments.

Executive Order 12866 and Regulatory Flexibility Act

    This rule was reviewed by the Office of Management and Budget under 
Executive Order 12866 and was determined to be significant.
    There are 10 to 25 establishments (based on recent information from 
the U.S. Embassy in Beijing, China) in the People's Republic of China 
that may be exporting product to the U.S. when this rule is effective. 
The establishments will export shelf-stable, fully cooked poultry 
products. U.S. imports from these establishments are expected to total 
2,500,000 pounds (1,134 metric tons) to 6,250,000 pounds (2,835 metric 
tons) per year, for the next four years. Then, the growth would likely 
level off. In 2005, the U.S. produced about 35,365,000,000 pounds 
(16,041,459 metric tons) of poultry products. Thus, the annual volume 
of imported poultry product from China would range from 0.007 percent 
(1,134.0 metric tons/16,041,459 metric tons) to 0.018 percent (2,835 
metric tons/16,041,459 metric tons) of the poultry products production 
in the U.S.
    U.S. firms export large amounts of poultry and poultry products to 
the People's Republic of China. Table A reflects U.S. exports of 
poultry and poultry products to the People's Republic of China for the 
years 1998-2003.
    This final rule will facilitate trade between the U.S. and the 
People's Republic of China in poultry products in a manner consistent 
with U.S. obligations under the WTO, which will result in benefits. 
U.S. consumers will not be required to purchase poultry products 
produced and processed in the People's Republic of China, although they 
may choose to do so. Expected benefits from this type of rule will 
theoretically accrue to consumers in the form of lower prices. The 
volume of trade stimulated by this rule, however, will likely be so 
small as to have little effect on supply and prices. Consumers, apart 
from any change in prices, will also benefit from increased choices in 
the marketplace.
    The costs of this rule will theoretically accrue to producers in 
the form of greater competition from the People's Republic of China. 
Again, it must be noted that the volume of trade stimulated by this 
rule will likely be small and have little effect on supply and prices. 
Nonetheless, it is possible that U.S. firms that produce products, such 
as duck and geese products, that will compete with the People's 
Republic of China imports could face increased competition. However, in 
the long run, such firms will likely adjust their product mix and be 
able to compete effectively.
    Any significant benefits of this rule will likely come through 
efficiency gains and potentially greater choice of products for 
consumers. FSIS reviewed the costs and benefits of the rule and 
determined that benefits will outweigh costs. The rule will not affect 
the safety of poultry products consumed in the U.S. Products will only 
be imported from the People's Republic of China if the People's 
Republic of China establishments can produce the products more 
efficiently than their U.S. counterparts. Then, U.S. firms will have 
the incentive to specialize in the production of products in which they 
are relatively more efficient. In the long run, this improved 
efficiency will make U.S. producers more competitive both domestically 
and internationally.

             Table A.--U.S. Exports of Poultry Products to the People's Republic of China, 1998-2003
                                           [Data shown in metric tons]
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
              Product                   1998         1999         2000         2001         2002         2003
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Poultry Meats.....................      41493.0      61948.9      64787.2      62413.8      86871.4     136494.9
Chickens, Fresh/Frozen............      39007.7      58762.5      61181.2      48786.6      70670.3     129617.8
Poultry, Misc.....................      18391.9      15603.1      16204.1      19110.2      13962.8      47911.3
Poultry Meats, Prep...............         46.6       1518.1       1860.9       8562.6       8831.4       3796.6
Turkeys, Fresh/Frozen.............       2437.5       1624.7       1624.0       4764.1       6986.2       2236.6
Other Poultry Fresh/Frozen........          1.2         43.6        121.2        300.4        383.5        843.9
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The data in Table A have been compiled from tariff and trade data 
from the U.S. Department of Commerce and the U.S. International Trade 
Commission.

Effect on Small Entities

    The Administrator, FSIS, has determined that this final rule will 
not have a significant impact on a substantial number of small 
entities, as defined by the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601). 
This rule would add the People's Republic of China to the list of 
countries eligible to export

[[Page 20871]]

poultry products into the United States. Once the People's Republic of 
China begins to export poultry products into the United States, the 
volume of shelf-stable, fully cooked poultry products available in the 
U.S. market will likely increase by approximately 2,500,000 pounds 
(1,134.0 metric tons) to 6,250,000 pounds (2,835 metric tons) per year. 
However, this small volume of trade is unlikely to impact the supply 
and prices of these products. Therefore, this rule should have no 
significant impact on small entities that produce these types of 
products domestically.

Paperwork Requirements

    No new paperwork requirements are associated with this final rule. 
Foreign countries wanting to export poultry products to the United 
States are required to provide information to FSIS certifying that its 
inspection system provides standards equivalent to those of the United 
States and that the legal authority for the system and its implementing 
regulations are equivalent to those of the United States before they 
may start exporting such product to the United States. FSIS collects 
this information one time only. FSIS gave the People's Republic of 
China questionnaires asking for detailed information about the 
country's inspection practices and procedures to assist the country in 
organizing its materials. This information collection was approved 
under OMB number 0583-0094. The rule contains no other paperwork 
requirements.

Executive Order 12988

    This rule has been reviewed under Executive Order 12988, Civil 
Justice Reform. When this final rule is adopted: (1) All state and 
local laws and regulations that are inconsistent with this rule will be 
preempted; (2) no retroactive effect will be given to this rule; and 
(3) administrative proceedings will not be required before parties may 
file suit in court challenging this rule.

Additional Public Notification

    Public awareness of all segments of rulemaking and policy 
development is important. Consequently, in an effort to ensure that 
this final rule comes to the attention of the public--including 
minorities, women, and persons with disabilities--FSIS will announce it 
on-line through the FSIS Web page located at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/
regulations_&_policies/2006_Interim_&_Final_Rules_Index/
index.asp.
    The Regulations.gov Web site is the central online rulemaking 
portal of the United States government. It is being offered as a public 
service to increase participation in the Federal Government's 
regulatory activities. FSIS participates in Regulations.gov and will 
accept comments on documents published on the site. The site allows 
visitors to search by keyword or Department or Agency for rulemakings 
that allow for public comment. Each entry provides a quick link to a 
comment form so that visitors can type in their comments and submit 
them to FSIS. The Web site is located at  http://www.regulations.gov.
    FSIS also will make copies of this Federal Register publication 
available through the FSIS Constituent Update, which is used to provide 
information regarding FSIS policies, procedures, regulations, Federal 
Register notices, FSIS public meetings, recalls, and other types of 
information that could affect or would be of interest to our 
constituents and stakeholders. The update is communicated via Listserv, 
a free e-mail subscription service consisting of industry, trade, and 
farm groups, consumer interest groups, allied health professionals, 
scientific professionals, and other individuals who have requested to 
be included. The update also is available on the FSIS Web page. Through 
Listserv and the Web page, FSIS is able to provide information to a 
broader and more diverse audience.
    In addition, FSIS offers an e-mail subscription service that 
provides automatic and customized access to selected food safety news 
and information. This service is available at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/
news_and_events/email_subscription/. Options range from recalls to 
export information to regulations, directives and notices. Customers 
can add or delete subscriptions themselves and have the option to 
password protect their accounts.

List of Subjects 9 CFR Part 381

    Imports, Intergovernmental relations, Poultry and poultry products.


0
For the reasons set out in the preamble, FSIS is amending 9 CFR part 
381 as follows:

PART 381--IMPORTED POULTRY PRODUCTS

0
1. The authority citation for part 381 continues to read as follows:

    Authority: 7 U.S.C. 138f, 450; 21 U.S.C. 451-470; 7 CFR 2.18, 
2.53.


Sec.  381.196  [Amended]

0
2. Section 381.196 is amended by adding ``People's Republic of 
China\2\'' in alphabetical order to the list of countries in paragraph 
(b).

    Done at Washington, DC, on: April 20, 2006.
Barbara J. Masters,
Administrator.
[FR Doc. 06-3889 Filed 4-20-06; 10:16 am]
BILLING CODE 3410-DM-P