Importation of Potatoes From Mexico, 59628-59632 [2013-23667]

Download as PDF 59628 Proposed Rules Federal Register Vol. 78, No. 188 Friday, September 27, 2013 This section of the FEDERAL REGISTER contains notices to the public of the proposed issuance of rules and regulations. The purpose of these notices is to give interested persons an opportunity to participate in the rule making prior to the adoption of the final rules. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service 7 CFR Part 319 [Docket No. APHIS–2013–0037] RIN 0579–AD78 Importation of Potatoes From Mexico Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, USDA. ACTION: Proposed rule. AGENCY: We are proposing to amend the regulations concerning the importation of fruits and vegetables to allow the importation of fresh potatoes (Solanum tuberosum L.) from Mexico into the United States. As a condition of entry, the potatoes would have to be produced in accordance with a systems approach employing a combination of mitigation measures to prevent the introduction and dissemination of plant pests into the United States. The potatoes would have to be imported in commercial consignments, would have to be produced by a grower who is registered in a certification program, would have to be packed in registered packinghouses, would have to be washed, cleaned, and treated with a sprout inhibitor, and would have to be inspected after packing for quarantine pests. The potatoes would also have to be accompanied by a phytosanitary certificate that declares that the conditions for importation have been met. Finally, the national plant protection organization (NPPO) of Mexico would have to provide a bilateral workplan to the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) that details the activities that the NPPO of Mexico will carry out to meet these requirements, subject to APHIS’ approval. This action would allow the importation of potatoes from Mexico while continuing to protect against the introduction of plant pests into the United States. pmangrum on DSK3VPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS-1 SUMMARY: VerDate Mar<15>2010 13:45 Sep 26, 2013 Jkt 229001 We will consider all comments that we receive on or before November 26, 2013. ADDRESSES: You may submit comments by either of the following methods: • Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to http://www.regulations.gov/ #!documentDetail;D=APHIS-2013-00370001. • Postal Mail/Commercial Delivery: Send your comment to Docket No. APHIS–2013–0037, 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-2013-0037 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: Mr. David Lamb, Regulatory Policy Specialist, PPQ, APHIS, 4700 River Road Unit 133, Riverdale, MD 20737– 1231; (301) 851–2018. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: DATES: Background The regulations in ‘‘Subpart–Fruits and Vegetables’’ (7 CFR 319.56–1 through 319.56–61, referred to below as the regulations) prohibit or restrict the importation of fruits and vegetables into the United States from certain parts of the world to prevent the introduction and dissemination of plant pests. Currently, the regulations do not allow the importation of fresh potatoes (Solanum tuberosum L.) from Mexico. The national plant protection organization (NPPO) of Mexico has requested that the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) amend the regulations to allow fresh potatoes from Mexico to be imported into the United States. As part of our evaluation of Mexico’s request, we prepared a pest risk assessment (PRA) and a risk management document (RMD). Copies of the PRA and the RMD may be obtained from the person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT or viewed on the PO 00000 Frm 00001 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 Regulations.gov Web site (see above for instructions for accessing Regulations.gov). The PRA, titled ‘‘Importation, from Mexico into the United States, of Potato, Solanum tuberosum, Tubers Intended for Consumption, A Pathway-Initiated Commodity Risk Assessment’’ (April 2011), evaluates the risks associated with the importation of fresh potatoes from Mexico into the United States. The RMD relies upon the findings of the PRA to determine the phytosanitary measures necessary to ensure the safe importation into the United States of potatoes from Mexico. The PRA identifies eight quarantine pests present in Mexico that could be introduced into the United States through the importation of potatoes: ´ • Copitarsia decolora (Guenee), a moth. • Epicaerus cognatus Sharp, potato weevil. • Nacobbus aberrans (Thorne) Thorne & Allen, false root-knot nematode. • Ralstonia solanacearum race 3 biovar 2 (Smith) Yabuuchi et al., a bacterium that causes brown rot of potato.1 • Rosellinia bunodes (Berk. & Broome) Sacc., a pathogenic fungus. • R. pepo Pat., a pathogenic fungus. • Synchytrium endobioticum (Schilb.) Percival, a pathogenic fungus that causes potato wart disease. • Thecaphora solani (Thirum. & M. O’Brien) Mordue, a pathogenic fungus that causes potato smut. The PRA also identifies Globodera rostochiensis, golden cyst nematode, as a quarantine pest that exists in Mexico, and determines that this pest is unlikely to follow the pathway only because it is under official control within Mexico. A quarantine pest is defined in § 319.56–2 of the regulations as a pest of potential economic importance to the area endangered thereby and not yet present there, or present but not widely distributed and being officially ADDRESSES 1 The PRA refers to this pest as ‘‘Ralstonia solanacearum race 3’’ because the taxonomic community customarily uses this term to refer to Ralstonia solanacearum race 3 biovar 2. However, R. solanacearum race 3 biovar 1 also exists in Mexico and could follow the pathway on potatoes from Mexico into the United States, but is not a pest of quarantine significance to the United States. To reflect this fact, and to clarify that the proposed regulations are not intended to address this biovar, we refer to the pest as Ralstonia solanacearum race 3 biovar 2 throughout this document. E:\FR\FM\27SEP1.SGM 27SEP1 Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 188 / Friday, September 27, 2013 / Proposed Rules pmangrum on DSK3VPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS-1 controlled. Plant pest risk potentials associated with the importation of fresh potatoes from Mexico into the United States were derived by estimating the consequences and likelihood of introduction of each quarantine pest into the United States and ranking the risk potential as high, medium, or low. The PRA determined that three of these eight pests—N. aberrans, R. solanacearum race 3 biovar 2, and S. endobioticum—pose a high risk of following the pathway of fresh potatoes from Mexico into the United States and having negative effects on U.S. agriculture. The remaining five pests— C. decolora, E. cognatus, R. bunodes, R. pepo, and T. solani—were rated as having a medium risk potential. Based on the conclusions of the PRA and the RMD, we are proposing to allow the importation of potatoes from Mexico into the United States subject to a systems approach. The conditions in the systems approach that we are proposing are described below. These conditions would be added to the regulations in a new § 319.56–62. Bilateral Workplan Proposed paragraph (a) of § 319.56–62 would require the NPPO of Mexico to provide a bilateral workplan to APHIS that details the activities that the NPPO would, subject to APHIS’ approval of the workplan, carry out to meet the requirements of proposed § 319.56–62. The bilateral workplan would have to include and describe in detail any requirements in proposed § 319.56–62 that specifically refer to the bilateral workplan. A bilateral workplan is an agreement between APHIS’ Plant Protection and Quarantine program, officials of the NPPO of a foreign government, and, when necessary, foreign commercial entities, that specifies in detail the phytosanitary measures that will comply with our regulations governing the import or export of a specific commodity. Bilateral workplans apply only to the signatory parties and establish detailed procedures and guidance for the day-to-day operations of specific import/export programs. Bilateral workplans also establish how specific phytosanitary issues are dealt with in the exporting country and make clear who is responsible for dealing with those issues. The implementation of a systems approach typically requires a bilateral workplan to be developed. Commercial Consignments Proposed paragraph (b) of § 319.56–62 would require potatoes from Mexico to be imported only in commercial consignments. Produce grown VerDate Mar<15>2010 13:45 Sep 26, 2013 Jkt 229001 commercially is less likely to be infested with plant pests than noncommercial shipments. Noncommercial shipments 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. Commercial consignments, as defined in § 319.56–2 of the regulations, are 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. Certification Program Proposed paragraph (c) of § 319.56–62 would require the potatoes to be produced by a grower who is registered in a certification program administered by the NPPO of Mexico. At a minimum, the program would have to require the producer to use only seed that has been certified by the NPPO of Mexico as free of R. solanacearum race 3 biovar 2, R. bunodes, R. pepo, S. endobioticum, and T. solani to produce the potatoes. The certification program would also have to require the potatoes to be grown in an enclosed environment or alternatively would have to require the field in which the potatoes are grown to be surveyed for quarantine pests and tested for R. solanacearum race 3 biovar 2 at regular intervals. The nature of these intervals and other requirements of the program that are jointly agreed upon by APHIS and the NPPO of Mexico would be contained in the bilateral workplan. Seed certification for potatoes is based on a generational process. As part of this process, a small quantity of seed is used as nuclear stock and grown over several growing seasons. Potatoes produced from this seed are inspected and tested at regular intervals for quarantine pests. If all generations of potatoes produced during these growing seasons are determined to be free of quarantine pests, the seed may be certified as being free of quarantine pests and commercially distributed. We would require the use of certified seed because R. solanacearum race 3 biovar 2 and S. endobioticum can remain viable in a hospitable environment for an extended period of time. We would also do so because potatoes may be infected with R. bunodes, R. pepo, and T. solani for a period of time before there is external evidence of this infection. The generational process associated with PO 00000 Frm 00002 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 59629 seed certification provides sufficient time to determine whether any of the nuclear stock seed is infected with these pests. We would require the potatoes to be produced in an enclosed environment or, alternatively, would require the field in which the potatoes are grown to be surveyed for quarantine pests because most of the pests of quarantine significance that could follow the pathway on potatoes from Mexico are soil-borne, and because the most virulent of these pests, R. solanacearum race 3 biovar 2, can spread quickly through both water and soil. For this latter reason, if the potatoes are produced in a field, we would require the field to be tested for R. solanacearum race 3 biovar 2 at regular intervals. Registered Packinghouses Proposed paragraph (d) of § 319.56–62 would require the potatoes to be packed for export in packinghouses that are registered with the NPPO of Mexico and to which the NPPO of Mexico has assigned a unique identifying number. Such registration would facilitate traceback of a consignment of potatoes to the packinghouse in which it was packed in the event that quarantine pests were discovered in the consignment at the port of first arrival into the United States. We discuss such traceback procedures at greater length later in this document. Post-Harvest Cleaning and Treatment Proposed paragraph (e) of § 319.56–62 would require that, after harvest but prior to packing, the potatoes be washed, cleaned of soil and debris, and treated with a sprout inhibitor in accordance with the bilateral workplan. Washing and cleaning would remove soil and plant debris, two potential sources of introduction of quarantine pests, from the potatoes. Washing would also remove any C. decolora on the potatoes, since the moth is an external feeder. We would require treatment with sprout inhibitors because, once a potato has begun to sprout, it is propagative material that can easily be used as a plant for planting. The risk assessment that we prepared evaluated only the risk of potatoes from Mexico imported into the United States for human consumption, and, in general, the plant pest risk associated with plants for planting tends to be higher than that associated with plants and plant parts intended for human consumption. E:\FR\FM\27SEP1.SGM 27SEP1 pmangrum on DSK3VPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS-1 59630 Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 188 / Friday, September 27, 2013 / Proposed Rules Post-Harvest Inspections Proposed paragraph (f) of § 319.56–62 would require a biometric sample to be taken from each consignment of potatoes destined for export to the United States in accordance with a protocol jointly agreed upon by APHIS and the NPPO of Mexico and specified within the bilateral workplan. The sample would have to be visually inspected for evidence of sprouting, as well as evidence of C. decolora, E. cognatus, N. aberrans, R. bunodes, R. pepo, and T. solani. It would also require a portion of the potatoes in the sample to be cut open, inspected for evidence of E. cognatus, N. aberrans, R. solanacearum race 3 biovar 2, and T. solani, and submitted to a laboratory approved by the NPPO of Mexico for testing for R. solanacearum race 3 biovar 2. The potatoes could not be shipped to the United States until the results of this testing are obtained. If any of the potatoes are found to be sprouting, or any evidence of these quarantine pests is found, or any potatoes have non-negative test results for R. solanacearum race 3 biovar 2, the entire consignment of potatoes would be prohibited from importation into the United States. Potatoes infected with R. bunodes and R. pepo exhibit signs of rot and fungal growths, and potatoes infected with T. solani become misshapen or covered with wart-like galls. Additionally, as mentioned above, C. decolora is an external feeder. Visual inspection should therefore be able to identify any potatoes that are infected with R. bunodes, R. pepo, or T. solani, or infested with C. decolora. Additionally, although E. cognatus and N. aberrans are internal feeders, potatoes that are heavily infested with these pests may exhibit some external symptoms of this infestation. By cutting the potatoes open, evidence of infestation with E. cognatus and N. aberrans would become apparent, as would any galling caused by T. solani. R. solanacearum race 3 biovar 2 attacks the vascular system of host plants and causes the collapse of vascular tissue; if the vascular tissues of the potatoes have begun to collapse because of R. solanacearum race 3 biovar 2, this would likewise be apparent when the potatoes are cut open. However, because R. solanacearum race 3 biovar 2 may have already infected a plant before symptoms of vascular collapse appear, and because R. solanacearum race 3 biovar 2 is an especially virulent pest, we would also require the potatoes to be tested for R. solanacearum race 3 biovar VerDate Mar<15>2010 13:45 Sep 26, 2013 Jkt 229001 2 with negative results at a laboratory approved by the NPPO of Mexico. We would require the potatoes not to exhibit evidence of sprouting because, as we mentioned above, sprouting potatoes are propagative and can easily be used as plants for planting. Sealed Means of Conveyance Proposed paragraph (g) of § 319.56–62 would require each consignment of potatoes shipped from Mexico to the United States to be transported following inspection from the packinghouse to the port of first arrival into the United States in a means of conveyance sealed with an agricultural seal affixed by an individual authorized by the NPPO of Mexico to do so. This requirement is necessary to prevent quarantine pests from being introduced into consignments of potatoes during transit to the United States. If the seal is broken en route, an inspector at the port of first arrival would take remedial measures jointly agreed to by APHIS and the NPPO of Mexico and specified in the bilateral workplan. The measures specified in the workplan would depend on whether the inspector determines the integrity of the consignment itself to have been compromised; if so, whether this has resulted in the introduction of plant pests into the consignment during transit; and, if so, whether any of these pests are quarantine pests. Phytosanitary Certificate Proposed paragraph (h) of § 319.56–62 would require each consignment of potatoes shipped from Mexico to the United States to be accompanied by a phytosanitary certificate, issued by the NPPO of Mexico, that states that the potatoes do not come from an area of Mexico regulated by the NPPO of Mexico for G. rostochiensis; have been produced from seed certified free of R. solanacearum race 3 biovar 2, R. bunodes, R. pepo, S. endobioticum, and T. solani; have been inspected for C. decolora, E. cognatus, N. aberrans, R. solanacearum race 3 biovar 2, R. bunodes, R. pepo, and T. solani; have been tested for R. solanacearum race 3 biovar 2; and based on this inspection and testing, have been found free of those pests. The phytosanitary certificate would also have to specify the number of the packinghouse in which the potatoes were packed. Because G. rostochiensis is a quarantine pest within the United States, we would prohibit the importation of potatoes from areas of Mexico regulated for G. rostochiensis into the United States in order to prevent additional introductions of the PO 00000 Frm 00003 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 pest into the United States. The proposed phytosanitary certificate requirements reflect that prohibition. Traceback Procedures Proposed paragraph (i) of § 319.56–62 would establish traceback procedures if quarantine pests are discovered on potatoes from Mexico at a port of first arrival into the United States. In the event that this occurs, the potatoes would be traced back to the packinghouse in which they were packed using the packinghouse number specified on the phytosanitary certificate. The packinghouse would be required to identify the grower from which the potatoes originated, and the grower would be required to identify the place of production in which the potatoes were grown. That place of production would be suspended from the export program for potatoes to the United States for the remainder of the shipping season. If the grower is unable to identify the place of production in which the potatoes were grown, that grower would be suspended from the export program for the remainder of the shipping season. Finally, if the packinghouse is unable to identify the grower from which the potatoes originated, that packinghouse would be suspended from the export program for potatoes to the United States for the remainder of the shipping season. 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. We have prepared an economic analysis for this rule. The economic analysis provides a cost-benefit analysis, as required by Executive Order 12866, and an analysis of the potential economic effects of this action on small entities, as required by the Regulatory Flexibility Act. The economic 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). The Small Business Administration’s small-entity standard for U.S. farms that produce potato tubers is annual receipts of not more than $750,000. In 2007, the average market value of sales by the 15,014 U.S. farms that produced E:\FR\FM\27SEP1.SGM 27SEP1 Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 188 / Friday, September 27, 2013 / Proposed Rules potatoes was about $222,000, well below the small-entity standard. In recent years, the United States has shifted from being a net importer to being a net exporter of fresh or chilled table potatoes. U.S. average annual net supply from 2008 to 2010 (marketed production plus imports minus exports) was about 16.6 million metric tons (MT). Mexico’s average annual exports for the same years totaled about 1,500 MT. Even if all of Mexico’s exports were diverted to the United States, they would be equivalent to less than onehundredth of 1 percent of U.S net supply. 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. pmangrum on DSK3VPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS-1 Executive Order 12988 This proposed rule would allow fresh potatoes for consumption to be imported into the United States from Mexico. If this proposed rule is adopted, State and local laws and regulations regarding potatoes imported under this rule would be preempted while the potatoes are in foreign commerce. Fresh potatoes 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-bycase 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–2013–0037. Please send a copy of your comments to: (1) Docket No. APHIS–2013–0037, Regulatory Analysis and Development, PPD, APHIS, Station 3A–03.8, 4700 River Road Unit 118, Riverdale, MD 20737–1238, and (2) Clearance Officer, OCIO, USDA, room 404–W, 14th Street and Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20250. A comment to VerDate Mar<15>2010 13:45 Sep 26, 2013 Jkt 229001 OMB is best assured of having its full effect if OMB receives it within 30 days of publication of this proposed rule. APHIS is proposing to amend the fruits and vegetables regulations to allow, under certain conditions, the importation into the United States of commercial consignments of fresh potatoes from Mexico. The conditions for the importation of fresh potatoes from Mexico include registration of packinghouses. The potatoes would also be required to be accompanied by a phytosanitary certificate issued by the NPPO of Mexico with an additional declaration confirming that the potatoes had been produced in accordance with the proposed requirements. The NPPO of Mexico would also have to enter into a bilateral workplan with APHIS. 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 2.97 hours per response. Respondents: National Plant Protection Organization of Mexico, producers. Estimated annual number of respondents: 19. Estimated annual number of responses per respondent: 2.6. Estimated annual number of responses: 31. Estimated total annual burden on respondents: 92 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 PO 00000 Frm 00004 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 59631 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 E-Government 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 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. ■ 2. Add § 319.56–62 to read as follows: § 319.56–62 Potatoes from Mexico. Fresh potatoes (Solanum tuberosum L.) may be imported into the United States from Mexico only under the conditions described in this section. These conditions are designed to prevent the introduction of the following quarantine pests: Copitarsia ´ decolora (Guenee), a moth; Epicaerus cognatus Sharp, potato weevil; Globodera rostochiensis, golden cyst nematode; Nacobbus aberrans (Thorne) Thorne & Allen, false root-knot nematode; Ralstonia solanacearum race 3 biovar 2 (Smith) Yabuuchi et al., a bacterium that causes brown rot of potato; Rosellinia bunodes (Berk. & Broome) Sacc., a pathogenic fungus; R. pepo Pat., a pathogenic fungus; Synchytrium endobioticum (Schilb.) Percival, a pathogenic fungus that causes potato wart disease; and Thecaphora solani (Thirum. & M. O’Brien) Mordue, a pathogenic fungus that causes potato smut. (a) The national plant protection organization (NPPO) of Mexico must provide a bilateral workplan to APHIS that details the activities that the NPPO of Mexico will, subject to APHIS’ approval of the workplan, carry out to E:\FR\FM\27SEP1.SGM 27SEP1 pmangrum on DSK3VPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS-1 59632 Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 188 / Friday, September 27, 2013 / Proposed Rules meet the requirements of this section. The bilateral workplan must include and describe the quarantine pest survey intervals and other specific requirements as set forth in this section. (b) The potatoes may be imported in commercial consignments only. (c) The potatoes must be produced by a grower who is registered in a certification program administered by the NPPO of Mexico. The program must require the producer to use only seed that has been certified by the NPPO of Mexico as free of R. solanacearum race 3 biovar 2, R. bunodes, R. pepo, S. endobioticum, and T. solani to produce the potatoes. The program must also require the potatoes to be grown in an enclosed environment or alternatively must require the field in which the potatoes are grown to be surveyed for quarantine pests and tested for R. solanacearum race 3 biovar 2 at regular intervals in accordance with the bilateral workplan. (d) The potatoes must be packed for export in packinghouses that are registered with the NPPO of Mexico and to which the NPPO of Mexico has assigned a unique identifying number. (e) After harvest but prior to packing, the potatoes must be washed, cleaned of soil and debris, and treated with a sprout inhibitor in accordance with the bilateral workplan. (f) A biometric sample of potatoes must be taken from each consignment of potatoes destined for export to the United States in accordance with a protocol jointly agreed upon by APHIS and the NPPO of Mexico and specified within the bilateral workplan. The sample must be visually inspected for evidence of sprouting, as well as evidence of C. decolora, E. cognatus, N. aberrans, R. bunodes, R. pepo, and T. solani. A portion of the potatoes must then be cut open, inspected for evidence of E. cognatus, N. aberrans, R. solanacearum race 3 biovar 2, and T. solani, and submitted to a laboratory approved by the NPPO of Mexico for testing for R. solanacearum race 3 biovar 2. Potatoes may not be shipped to the United States until the results of this testing are obtained. If any potatoes are found to be sprouting, or any evidence of these quarantine pests is found, or any potatoes have nonnegative test results for R. solanacearum race 3 biovar 2, the entire consignment of potatoes will be prohibited from importation into the United States. (g) Each consignment of potatoes shipped from Mexico to the United States must be transported following inspection from the packinghouse to the port of first arrival into the United States in a means of conveyance sealed VerDate Mar<15>2010 13:45 Sep 26, 2013 Jkt 229001 with an agricultural seal affixed by an individual authorized by the NPPO of Mexico to do so. If the seal is broken en route, an inspector at the port of first arrival will take remedial measures jointly agreed to by APHIS and the NPPO of Mexico and specified in the bilateral workplan. (h) Each consignment of potatoes shipped from Mexico to the United States must be accompanied by a phytosanitary certificate, issued by the NPPO of Mexico, that states that that the potatoes do not come from an area of Mexico regulated by the NPPO of Mexico for G. rostochiensis; have been produced from seed certified free of R. solanacearum race 3 biovar 2, R. bunodes, R. pepo, S. endobioticum, and T. solani; have been inspected for C. decolora, E. cognatus, N. aberrans, R. solanacearum race 3 biovar 2, R. bunodes, R. pepo, and T. solani; have been tested for R. solanacearum race 3 biovar 2; and based on this inspection and testing, have been found free of those pests. The phytosanitary certificate must also specify the number of the packinghouse in which the potatoes were packed. (i) If quarantine pests are discovered on potatoes from Mexico at a port of first arrival into the United States, the potatoes will be traced back to the packinghouse in which they were packed using the packinghouse number specified on the phytosanitary certificate. (1) The packinghouse must identify the grower from which the potatoes originated, and the grower must identify the place of production in which the potatoes were grown. That place of production will be suspended from the export program for potatoes to the United States for the remainder of the shipping season. (2) If the grower is unable to identify the place of production in which the potatoes were grown, that grower will be suspended from the export program for potatoes to the United States for the remainder of the shipping season. (3) If the packinghouse is unable to identify the grower from which the potatoes originated, that packinghouse will be suspended from the export program for potatoes to the United States for the remainder of the shipping season. Done in Washington, DC, this 24th day of September 2013. Kevin Shea, Administrator, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. [FR Doc. 2013–23667 Filed 9–26–13; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410–34–P PO 00000 Frm 00005 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement 30 CFR Part 250 [Docket ID BSEE–2012–0005; 13XE1700DX EX1SF0000.DAQ000 EEEE500000] RIN 1014–AA10 Oil and Gas and Sulphur Operations on the Outer Continental Shelf—Oil and Gas Production Safety Systems Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE), Interior. ACTION: Extension of comment period for a proposed rule. AGENCY: The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) is extending the public comment period on the production safety systems proposed rule, which was published in the Federal Register on August 22, 2013. The original public comment period would end October 21, 2013. However, BSEE has received multiple requests from various industry representatives to extend the comment period. The BSEE has reviewed the extension requests and determined that a 45-day comment period extension is appropriate. SUMMARY: Written comments must be received by the extended due date of December 5, 2013. The BSEE may not fully consider comments received after this date. ADDRESSES: You may submit comments on the rulemaking by any of the following methods. Please use the Regulation Identifier Number (RIN) 1014–AA10 as an identifier in your message. See also Public Availability of Comments under Procedural Matters. • Federal eRulemaking Portal: http:// www.regulations.gov. In the entry titled Enter Keyword or ID, enter BSEE–2012– 0005 then click search. Follow the instructions to submit public comments and view supporting and related materials available for this rulemaking. The BSEE may post all submitted comments. • Mail or hand-carry comments to the Department of the Interior (DOI); Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement; Attention: Regulations Development Branch; 381 Elden Street, HE3313; Herndon, Virginia 20170–4817. Please reference ‘‘Oil and Gas Production Safety Systems, 1014– AA10’’ in your comments and include your name and return address. • Public Availability of Comments— Before including your address, phone DATES: E:\FR\FM\27SEP1.SGM 27SEP1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 188 (Friday, September 27, 2013)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 59628-59632]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-23667]


========================================================================
Proposed Rules
                                                Federal Register
________________________________________________________________________

This section of the FEDERAL REGISTER contains notices to the public of 
the proposed issuance of rules and regulations. The purpose of these 
notices is to give interested persons an opportunity to participate in 
the rule making prior to the adoption of the final rules.

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


Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 188 / Friday, September 27, 2013 / 
Proposed Rules

[[Page 59628]]



DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service

7 CFR Part 319

[Docket No. APHIS-2013-0037]
RIN 0579-AD78


Importation of Potatoes From Mexico

AGENCY: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, USDA.

ACTION: Proposed rule.

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

SUMMARY: We are proposing to amend the regulations concerning the 
importation of fruits and vegetables to allow the importation of fresh 
potatoes (Solanum tuberosum L.) from Mexico into the United States. As 
a condition of entry, the potatoes would have to be produced in 
accordance with a systems approach employing a combination of 
mitigation measures to prevent the introduction and dissemination of 
plant pests into the United States. The potatoes would have to be 
imported in commercial consignments, would have to be produced by a 
grower who is registered in a certification program, would have to be 
packed in registered packinghouses, would have to be washed, cleaned, 
and treated with a sprout inhibitor, and would have to be inspected 
after packing for quarantine pests. The potatoes would also have to be 
accompanied by a phytosanitary certificate that declares that the 
conditions for importation have been met. Finally, the national plant 
protection organization (NPPO) of Mexico would have to provide a 
bilateral workplan to the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service 
(APHIS) that details the activities that the NPPO of Mexico will carry 
out to meet these requirements, subject to APHIS' approval. This action 
would allow the importation of potatoes from Mexico while continuing to 
protect against the introduction of plant pests into the United States.

DATES: We will consider all comments that we receive on or before 
November 26, 2013.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments by either of the following methods:
     Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=APHIS-2013-0037-0001.
     Postal Mail/Commercial Delivery: Send your comment to 
Docket No. APHIS-2013-0037, 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-
0037 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: Mr. David Lamb, Regulatory Policy 
Specialist, PPQ, APHIS, 4700 River Road Unit 133, Riverdale, MD 20737-
1231; (301) 851-2018.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Background

    The regulations in ``Subpart-Fruits and Vegetables'' (7 CFR 319.56-
1 through 319.56-61, referred to below as the regulations) prohibit or 
restrict the importation of fruits and vegetables into the United 
States from certain parts of the world to prevent the introduction and 
dissemination of plant pests.
    Currently, the regulations do not allow the importation of fresh 
potatoes (Solanum tuberosum L.) from Mexico. The national plant 
protection organization (NPPO) of Mexico has requested that the Animal 
and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) amend the regulations to 
allow fresh potatoes from Mexico to be imported into the United States. 
As part of our evaluation of Mexico's request, we prepared a pest risk 
assessment (PRA) and a risk management document (RMD). Copies of the 
PRA and the RMD may be obtained from the person listed under FOR 
FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT or viewed on the Regulations.gov Web site 
(see ADDRESSES above for instructions for accessing Regulations.gov).
    The PRA, titled ``Importation, from Mexico into the United States, 
of Potato, Solanum tuberosum, Tubers Intended for Consumption, A 
Pathway-Initiated Commodity Risk Assessment'' (April 2011), evaluates 
the risks associated with the importation of fresh potatoes from Mexico 
into the United States. The RMD relies upon the findings of the PRA to 
determine the phytosanitary measures necessary to ensure the safe 
importation into the United States of potatoes from Mexico.
    The PRA identifies eight quarantine pests present in Mexico that 
could be introduced into the United States through the importation of 
potatoes:
     Copitarsia decolora (Guen[eacute]e), a moth.
     Epicaerus cognatus Sharp, potato weevil.
     Nacobbus aberrans (Thorne) Thorne & Allen, false root-knot 
nematode.
     Ralstonia solanacearum race 3 biovar 2 (Smith) Yabuuchi et 
al., a bacterium that causes brown rot of potato.\1\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \1\ The PRA refers to this pest as ``Ralstonia solanacearum race 
3'' because the taxonomic community customarily uses this term to 
refer to Ralstonia solanacearum race 3 biovar 2. However, R. 
solanacearum race 3 biovar 1 also exists in Mexico and could follow 
the pathway on potatoes from Mexico into the United States, but is 
not a pest of quarantine significance to the United States. To 
reflect this fact, and to clarify that the proposed regulations are 
not intended to address this biovar, we refer to the pest as 
Ralstonia solanacearum race 3 biovar 2 throughout this document.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

     Rosellinia bunodes (Berk. & Broome) Sacc., a pathogenic 
fungus.
     R. pepo Pat., a pathogenic fungus.
     Synchytrium endobioticum (Schilb.) Percival, a pathogenic 
fungus that causes potato wart disease.
     Thecaphora solani (Thirum. & M. O'Brien) Mordue, a 
pathogenic fungus that causes potato smut.
    The PRA also identifies Globodera rostochiensis, golden cyst 
nematode, as a quarantine pest that exists in Mexico, and determines 
that this pest is unlikely to follow the pathway only because it is 
under official control within Mexico.
    A quarantine pest is defined in Sec.  319.56-2 of the regulations 
as a pest of potential economic importance to the area endangered 
thereby and not yet present there, or present but not widely 
distributed and being officially

[[Page 59629]]

controlled. Plant pest risk potentials associated with the importation 
of fresh potatoes from Mexico into the United States were derived by 
estimating the consequences and likelihood of introduction of each 
quarantine pest into the United States and ranking the risk potential 
as high, medium, or low. The PRA determined that three of these eight 
pests--N. aberrans, R. solanacearum race 3 biovar 2, and S. 
endobioticum--pose a high risk of following the pathway of fresh 
potatoes from Mexico into the United States and having negative effects 
on U.S. agriculture. The remaining five pests--C. decolora, E. 
cognatus, R. bunodes, R. pepo, and T. solani--were rated as having a 
medium risk potential.
    Based on the conclusions of the PRA and the RMD, we are proposing 
to allow the importation of potatoes from Mexico into the United States 
subject to a systems approach. The conditions in the systems approach 
that we are proposing are described below. These conditions would be 
added to the regulations in a new Sec.  319.56-62.

Bilateral Workplan

    Proposed paragraph (a) of Sec.  319.56-62 would require the NPPO of 
Mexico to provide a bilateral workplan to APHIS that details the 
activities that the NPPO would, subject to APHIS' approval of the 
workplan, carry out to meet the requirements of proposed Sec.  319.56-
62. The bilateral workplan would have to include and describe in detail 
any requirements in proposed Sec.  319.56-62 that specifically refer to 
the bilateral workplan.
    A bilateral workplan is an agreement between APHIS' Plant 
Protection and Quarantine program, officials of the NPPO of a foreign 
government, and, when necessary, foreign commercial entities, that 
specifies in detail the phytosanitary measures that will comply with 
our regulations governing the import or export of a specific commodity. 
Bilateral workplans apply only to the signatory parties and establish 
detailed procedures and guidance for the day-to-day operations of 
specific import/export programs. Bilateral workplans also establish how 
specific phytosanitary issues are dealt with in the exporting country 
and make clear who is responsible for dealing with those issues. The 
implementation of a systems approach typically requires a bilateral 
workplan to be developed.

Commercial Consignments

    Proposed paragraph (b) of Sec.  319.56-62 would require potatoes 
from Mexico to be imported only in commercial consignments. Produce 
grown commercially is less likely to be infested with plant pests than 
noncommercial shipments. Noncommercial shipments 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. Commercial consignments, as defined in 
Sec.  319.56-2 of the regulations, are 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.

Certification Program

    Proposed paragraph (c) of Sec.  319.56-62 would require the 
potatoes to be produced by a grower who is registered in a 
certification program administered by the NPPO of Mexico. At a minimum, 
the program would have to require the producer to use only seed that 
has been certified by the NPPO of Mexico as free of R. solanacearum 
race 3 biovar 2, R. bunodes, R. pepo, S. endobioticum, and T. solani to 
produce the potatoes. The certification program would also have to 
require the potatoes to be grown in an enclosed environment or 
alternatively would have to require the field in which the potatoes are 
grown to be surveyed for quarantine pests and tested for R. 
solanacearum race 3 biovar 2 at regular intervals. The nature of these 
intervals and other requirements of the program that are jointly agreed 
upon by APHIS and the NPPO of Mexico would be contained in the 
bilateral workplan.
    Seed certification for potatoes is based on a generational process. 
As part of this process, a small quantity of seed is used as nuclear 
stock and grown over several growing seasons. Potatoes produced from 
this seed are inspected and tested at regular intervals for quarantine 
pests. If all generations of potatoes produced during these growing 
seasons are determined to be free of quarantine pests, the seed may be 
certified as being free of quarantine pests and commercially 
distributed.
    We would require the use of certified seed because R. solanacearum 
race 3 biovar 2 and S. endobioticum can remain viable in a hospitable 
environment for an extended period of time. We would also do so because 
potatoes may be infected with R. bunodes, R. pepo, and T. solani for a 
period of time before there is external evidence of this infection. The 
generational process associated with seed certification provides 
sufficient time to determine whether any of the nuclear stock seed is 
infected with these pests.
    We would require the potatoes to be produced in an enclosed 
environment or, alternatively, would require the field in which the 
potatoes are grown to be surveyed for quarantine pests because most of 
the pests of quarantine significance that could follow the pathway on 
potatoes from Mexico are soil-borne, and because the most virulent of 
these pests, R. solanacearum race 3 biovar 2, can spread quickly 
through both water and soil. For this latter reason, if the potatoes 
are produced in a field, we would require the field to be tested for R. 
solanacearum race 3 biovar 2 at regular intervals.

Registered Packinghouses

    Proposed paragraph (d) of Sec.  319.56-62 would require the 
potatoes to be packed for export in packinghouses that are registered 
with the NPPO of Mexico and to which the NPPO of Mexico has assigned a 
unique identifying number. Such registration would facilitate traceback 
of a consignment of potatoes to the packinghouse in which it was packed 
in the event that quarantine pests were discovered in the consignment 
at the port of first arrival into the United States. We discuss such 
traceback procedures at greater length later in this document.

Post-Harvest Cleaning and Treatment

    Proposed paragraph (e) of Sec.  319.56-62 would require that, after 
harvest but prior to packing, the potatoes be washed, cleaned of soil 
and debris, and treated with a sprout inhibitor in accordance with the 
bilateral workplan. Washing and cleaning would remove soil and plant 
debris, two potential sources of introduction of quarantine pests, from 
the potatoes. Washing would also remove any C. decolora on the 
potatoes, since the moth is an external feeder.
    We would require treatment with sprout inhibitors because, once a 
potato has begun to sprout, it is propagative material that can easily 
be used as a plant for planting. The risk assessment that we prepared 
evaluated only the risk of potatoes from Mexico imported into the 
United States for human consumption, and, in general, the plant pest 
risk associated with plants for planting tends to be higher than that 
associated with plants and plant parts intended for human consumption.

[[Page 59630]]

Post-Harvest Inspections

    Proposed paragraph (f) of Sec.  319.56-62 would require a biometric 
sample to be taken from each consignment of potatoes destined for 
export to the United States in accordance with a protocol jointly 
agreed upon by APHIS and the NPPO of Mexico and specified within the 
bilateral workplan. The sample would have to be visually inspected for 
evidence of sprouting, as well as evidence of C. decolora, E. cognatus, 
N. aberrans, R. bunodes, R. pepo, and T. solani. It would also require 
a portion of the potatoes in the sample to be cut open, inspected for 
evidence of E. cognatus, N. aberrans, R. solanacearum race 3 biovar 2, 
and T. solani, and submitted to a laboratory approved by the NPPO of 
Mexico for testing for R. solanacearum race 3 biovar 2. The potatoes 
could not be shipped to the United States until the results of this 
testing are obtained. If any of the potatoes are found to be sprouting, 
or any evidence of these quarantine pests is found, or any potatoes 
have non-negative test results for R. solanacearum race 3 biovar 2, the 
entire consignment of potatoes would be prohibited from importation 
into the United States.
    Potatoes infected with R. bunodes and R. pepo exhibit signs of rot 
and fungal growths, and potatoes infected with T. solani become 
misshapen or covered with wart-like galls. Additionally, as mentioned 
above, C. decolora is an external feeder. Visual inspection should 
therefore be able to identify any potatoes that are infected with R. 
bunodes, R. pepo, or T. solani, or infested with C. decolora. 
Additionally, although E. cognatus and N. aberrans are internal 
feeders, potatoes that are heavily infested with these pests may 
exhibit some external symptoms of this infestation.
    By cutting the potatoes open, evidence of infestation with E. 
cognatus and N. aberrans would become apparent, as would any galling 
caused by T. solani. R. solanacearum race 3 biovar 2 attacks the 
vascular system of host plants and causes the collapse of vascular 
tissue; if the vascular tissues of the potatoes have begun to collapse 
because of R. solanacearum race 3 biovar 2, this would likewise be 
apparent when the potatoes are cut open. However, because R. 
solanacearum race 3 biovar 2 may have already infected a plant before 
symptoms of vascular collapse appear, and because R. solanacearum race 
3 biovar 2 is an especially virulent pest, we would also require the 
potatoes to be tested for R. solanacearum race 3 biovar 2 with negative 
results at a laboratory approved by the NPPO of Mexico.
    We would require the potatoes not to exhibit evidence of sprouting 
because, as we mentioned above, sprouting potatoes are propagative and 
can easily be used as plants for planting.

Sealed Means of Conveyance

    Proposed paragraph (g) of Sec.  319.56-62 would require each 
consignment of potatoes shipped from Mexico to the United States to be 
transported following inspection from the packinghouse to the port of 
first arrival into the United States in a means of conveyance sealed 
with an agricultural seal affixed by an individual authorized by the 
NPPO of Mexico to do so. This requirement is necessary to prevent 
quarantine pests from being introduced into consignments of potatoes 
during transit to the United States.
    If the seal is broken en route, an inspector at the port of first 
arrival would take remedial measures jointly agreed to by APHIS and the 
NPPO of Mexico and specified in the bilateral workplan. The measures 
specified in the workplan would depend on whether the inspector 
determines the integrity of the consignment itself to have been 
compromised; if so, whether this has resulted in the introduction of 
plant pests into the consignment during transit; and, if so, whether 
any of these pests are quarantine pests.

Phytosanitary Certificate

    Proposed paragraph (h) of Sec.  319.56-62 would require each 
consignment of potatoes shipped from Mexico to the United States to be 
accompanied by a phytosanitary certificate, issued by the NPPO of 
Mexico, that states that the potatoes do not come from an area of 
Mexico regulated by the NPPO of Mexico for G. rostochiensis; have been 
produced from seed certified free of R. solanacearum race 3 biovar 2, 
R. bunodes, R. pepo, S. endobioticum, and T. solani; have been 
inspected for C. decolora, E. cognatus, N. aberrans, R. solanacearum 
race 3 biovar 2, R. bunodes, R. pepo, and T. solani; have been tested 
for R. solanacearum race 3 biovar 2; and based on this inspection and 
testing, have been found free of those pests. The phytosanitary 
certificate would also have to specify the number of the packinghouse 
in which the potatoes were packed.
    Because G. rostochiensis is a quarantine pest within the United 
States, we would prohibit the importation of potatoes from areas of 
Mexico regulated for G. rostochiensis into the United States in order 
to prevent additional introductions of the pest into the United States. 
The proposed phytosanitary certificate requirements reflect that 
prohibition.

Traceback Procedures

    Proposed paragraph (i) of Sec.  319.56-62 would establish traceback 
procedures if quarantine pests are discovered on potatoes from Mexico 
at a port of first arrival into the United States. In the event that 
this occurs, the potatoes would be traced back to the packinghouse in 
which they were packed using the packinghouse number specified on the 
phytosanitary certificate.
    The packinghouse would be required to identify the grower from 
which the potatoes originated, and the grower would be required to 
identify the place of production in which the potatoes were grown. That 
place of production would be suspended from the export program for 
potatoes to the United States for the remainder of the shipping season.
    If the grower is unable to identify the place of production in 
which the potatoes were grown, that grower would be suspended from the 
export program for the remainder of the shipping season.
    Finally, if the packinghouse is unable to identify the grower from 
which the potatoes originated, that packinghouse would be suspended 
from the export program for potatoes to the United States for the 
remainder of the shipping season.

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.
    We have prepared an economic analysis for this rule. The economic 
analysis provides a cost-benefit analysis, as required by Executive 
Order 12866, and an analysis of the potential economic effects of this 
action on small entities, as required by the Regulatory Flexibility 
Act. The economic 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).
    The Small Business Administration's small-entity standard for U.S. 
farms that produce potato tubers is annual receipts of not more than 
$750,000. In 2007, the average market value of sales by the 15,014 U.S. 
farms that produced

[[Page 59631]]

potatoes was about $222,000, well below the small-entity standard.
    In recent years, the United States has shifted from being a net 
importer to being a net exporter of fresh or chilled table potatoes. 
U.S. average annual net supply from 2008 to 2010 (marketed production 
plus imports minus exports) was about 16.6 million metric tons (MT). 
Mexico's average annual exports for the same years totaled about 1,500 
MT. Even if all of Mexico's exports were diverted to the United States, 
they would be equivalent to less than one-hundredth of 1 percent of U.S 
net supply.
    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 allow fresh potatoes for consumption to be 
imported into the United States from Mexico. If this proposed rule is 
adopted, State and local laws and regulations regarding potatoes 
imported under this rule would be preempted while the potatoes are in 
foreign commerce. Fresh potatoes 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-
2013-0037. Please send a copy of your comments to: (1) Docket No. 
APHIS-2013-0037, Regulatory Analysis and Development, PPD, APHIS, 
Station 3A-03.8, 4700 River Road Unit 118, Riverdale, MD 20737-1238, 
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.
    APHIS is proposing to amend the fruits and vegetables regulations 
to allow, under certain conditions, the importation into the United 
States of commercial consignments of fresh potatoes from Mexico. The 
conditions for the importation of fresh potatoes from Mexico include 
registration of packinghouses. The potatoes would also be required to 
be accompanied by a phytosanitary certificate issued by the NPPO of 
Mexico with an additional declaration confirming that the potatoes had 
been produced in accordance with the proposed requirements. The NPPO of 
Mexico would also have to enter into a bilateral workplan with APHIS.
    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 2.97 hours per response.
    Respondents: National Plant Protection Organization of Mexico, 
producers.
    Estimated annual number of respondents: 19.
    Estimated annual number of responses per respondent: 2.6.
    Estimated annual number of responses: 31.
    Estimated total annual burden on respondents: 92 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 E-Government 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. Add Sec.  319.56-62 to read as follows:


Sec.  319.56-62  Potatoes from Mexico.

    Fresh potatoes (Solanum tuberosum L.) may be imported into the 
United States from Mexico only under the conditions described in this 
section. These conditions are designed to prevent the introduction of 
the following quarantine pests: Copitarsia decolora (Guen[eacute]e), a 
moth; Epicaerus cognatus Sharp, potato weevil; Globodera rostochiensis, 
golden cyst nematode; Nacobbus aberrans (Thorne) Thorne & Allen, false 
root-knot nematode; Ralstonia solanacearum race 3 biovar 2 (Smith) 
Yabuuchi et al., a bacterium that causes brown rot of potato; 
Rosellinia bunodes (Berk. & Broome) Sacc., a pathogenic fungus; R. pepo 
Pat., a pathogenic fungus; Synchytrium endobioticum (Schilb.) Percival, 
a pathogenic fungus that causes potato wart disease; and Thecaphora 
solani (Thirum. & M. O'Brien) Mordue, a pathogenic fungus that causes 
potato smut.
    (a) The national plant protection organization (NPPO) of Mexico 
must provide a bilateral workplan to APHIS that details the activities 
that the NPPO of Mexico will, subject to APHIS' approval of the 
workplan, carry out to

[[Page 59632]]

meet the requirements of this section. The bilateral workplan must 
include and describe the quarantine pest survey intervals and other 
specific requirements as set forth in this section.
    (b) The potatoes may be imported in commercial consignments only.
    (c) The potatoes must be produced by a grower who is registered in 
a certification program administered by the NPPO of Mexico. The program 
must require the producer to use only seed that has been certified by 
the NPPO of Mexico as free of R. solanacearum race 3 biovar 2, R. 
bunodes, R. pepo, S. endobioticum, and T. solani to produce the 
potatoes. The program must also require the potatoes to be grown in an 
enclosed environment or alternatively must require the field in which 
the potatoes are grown to be surveyed for quarantine pests and tested 
for R. solanacearum race 3 biovar 2 at regular intervals in accordance 
with the bilateral workplan.
    (d) The potatoes must be packed for export in packinghouses that 
are registered with the NPPO of Mexico and to which the NPPO of Mexico 
has assigned a unique identifying number.
    (e) After harvest but prior to packing, the potatoes must be 
washed, cleaned of soil and debris, and treated with a sprout inhibitor 
in accordance with the bilateral workplan.
    (f) A biometric sample of potatoes must be taken from each 
consignment of potatoes destined for export to the United States in 
accordance with a protocol jointly agreed upon by APHIS and the NPPO of 
Mexico and specified within the bilateral workplan. The sample must be 
visually inspected for evidence of sprouting, as well as evidence of C. 
decolora, E. cognatus, N. aberrans, R. bunodes, R. pepo, and T. solani. 
A portion of the potatoes must then be cut open, inspected for evidence 
of E. cognatus, N. aberrans, R. solanacearum race 3 biovar 2, and T. 
solani, and submitted to a laboratory approved by the NPPO of Mexico 
for testing for R. solanacearum race 3 biovar 2. Potatoes may not be 
shipped to the United States until the results of this testing are 
obtained. If any potatoes are found to be sprouting, or any evidence of 
these quarantine pests is found, or any potatoes have non-negative test 
results for R. solanacearum race 3 biovar 2, the entire consignment of 
potatoes will be prohibited from importation into the United States.
    (g) Each consignment of potatoes shipped from Mexico to the United 
States must be transported following inspection from the packinghouse 
to the port of first arrival into the United States in a means of 
conveyance sealed with an agricultural seal affixed by an individual 
authorized by the NPPO of Mexico to do so. If the seal is broken en 
route, an inspector at the port of first arrival will take remedial 
measures jointly agreed to by APHIS and the NPPO of Mexico and 
specified in the bilateral workplan.
    (h) Each consignment of potatoes shipped from Mexico to the United 
States must be accompanied by a phytosanitary certificate, issued by 
the NPPO of Mexico, that states that that the potatoes do not come from 
an area of Mexico regulated by the NPPO of Mexico for G. rostochiensis; 
have been produced from seed certified free of R. solanacearum race 3 
biovar 2, R. bunodes, R. pepo, S. endobioticum, and T. solani; have 
been inspected for C. decolora, E. cognatus, N. aberrans, R. 
solanacearum race 3 biovar 2, R. bunodes, R. pepo, and T. solani; have 
been tested for R. solanacearum race 3 biovar 2; and based on this 
inspection and testing, have been found free of those pests. The 
phytosanitary certificate must also specify the number of the 
packinghouse in which the potatoes were packed.
    (i) If quarantine pests are discovered on potatoes from Mexico at a 
port of first arrival into the United States, the potatoes will be 
traced back to the packinghouse in which they were packed using the 
packinghouse number specified on the phytosanitary certificate.
    (1) The packinghouse must identify the grower from which the 
potatoes originated, and the grower must identify the place of 
production in which the potatoes were grown. That place of production 
will be suspended from the export program for potatoes to the United 
States for the remainder of the shipping season.
    (2) If the grower is unable to identify the place of production in 
which the potatoes were grown, that grower will be suspended from the 
export program for potatoes to the United States for the remainder of 
the shipping season.
    (3) If the packinghouse is unable to identify the grower from which 
the potatoes originated, that packinghouse will be suspended from the 
export program for potatoes to the United States for the remainder of 
the shipping season.

    Done in Washington, DC, this 24th day of September 2013.
Kevin Shea,
Administrator, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.
[FR Doc. 2013-23667 Filed 9-26-13; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3410-34-P