Importation of Hass Avocados From Colombia, 74722-74727 [2016-26033]

Download as PDF 74722 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 208 / Thursday, October 27, 2016 / Proposed Rules sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with PROPOSALS 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–2016–0005. Please send a copy of your comments to: (1) Please send a copy of your comments to: (1) APHIS, using one of the methods described under ADDRESSES at the beginning of this document, and (2) Clearance Officer, OCIO, USDA, Room 404–W, 14th Street and Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20250. APHIS is proposing to amend the regulations governing the importation of plants and plant products to add orchid plants of the genus Dendrobium from Taiwan to the list of plants that may be imported into the United States in an approved growing medium, subject to specified growing requirements. Respondents will complete activities such as phytosanitary certificates, written agreements, and inspections. 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 1.166 hours per response. Respondents: Foreign government and businesses. Estimated annual number of respondents: 16. VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:35 Oct 26, 2016 Jkt 241001 Estimated annual number of responses per respondent: 17. Estimated annual number of responses: 271. Estimated total annual burden on respondents: 316 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.) A copy of the information collection may be viewed on the Regulations.gov Web site or in our reading room. (A link to Regulations.gov and information on the location and hours of the reading room are provided under the heading ADDRESSES at the beginning of this proposed rule.) Copies can also be obtained from Ms. Kimberly Hardy, APHIS’ Information Collection Coordinator, at (301) 851–2727. APHIS will respond to any ICR-related comments in the final rule. All comments will also become a matter of public record. E-Government Act Compliance The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service is committed to compliance with the EGovernment Act to promote the use of the Internet and other information technologies, to provide increased opportunities for citizen access to Government information and services, and for other purposes. For information pertinent to E-Government Act compliance related to this proposed rule, please contact Ms. Kimberly Hardy, APHIS’ Information Collection Coordinator, at (301) 851– 2727. 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. § 319.37–8 [Amended] 2. In § 319.37–8(e) introductory text, amend the list of plants by adding, in alphabetical order, an entry for ‘‘Dendrobium spp. from Taiwan’’. ■ PO 00000 Frm 00003 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 Done in Washington, DC, this 24th day of October 2016. Kevin Shea, Administrator, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. [FR Doc. 2016–26031 Filed 10–26–16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410–34–P DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service 7 CFR Part 319 [Docket No. APHIS–2016–0022] RIN 0579–AE29 Importation of Hass Avocados From Colombia Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, USDA. ACTION: Proposed rule. AGENCY: We are proposing to amend the fruits and vegetables regulations to allow the importation of Hass avocados from Colombia into the continental United States. As a condition of entry, Hass avocados from Colombia would have to be produced in accordance with a systems approach that would include requirements for importation in commercial consignments; registration and monitoring of places of production and packinghouses; pest-free places of production; grove sanitation, monitoring, and pest control practices; lot identification; and inspection for quarantine pests by the Colombian national plant protection organization. Additionally, avocados from Colombia would be required to be accompanied by a phytosanitary certificate with an additional declaration stating that the avocados have been produced in accordance with the proposed requirements. This action would allow for the importation of Hass avocados from Colombia into the continental United States while continuing to provide protection against the introduction of plant pests. DATES: We will consider all comments that we receive on or before December 27, 2016. ADDRESSES: You may submit comments by either of the following methods: • Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to http://www.regulations.gov/ #!docketDetail;D=APHIS-2016-0022. • Postal Mail/Commercial Delivery: Send your comments to Docket No. APHIS–2016–0022, Regulatory Analysis and Development, PPD, APHIS, Station 3A–03.8, 4700 River Road, Unit 118, Riverdale, MD 20737–1238. SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\27OCP1.SGM 27OCP1 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 208 / Thursday, October 27, 2016 / Proposed Rules Supporting documents and any comments we receive on this docket may be viewed at http:// www.regulations.gov/ #!docketDetail;D=APHIS-2016-0022 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 B. Lamb, Senior Regulatory Policy Specialist, USDA/APHIS/PPQ, 4700 River Road, Unit 133, Riverdale, MD 20737–1236; (301) 851–2103; David.B.Lamb@aphis.usda.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with PROPOSALS Background Under the regulations in ‘‘Subpart— Fruits and Vegetables’’ (7 CFR 319.56– 1 through 319.56–75, referred to below as the regulations or the fruits and vegetables regulations), the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) prohibits or restricts the importation of fruits and vegetables into the United States from certain parts of the world to prevent plant pests from being introduced into and spread within the United States. The national plant protection organization (NPPO) of Colombia has requested that we amend the regulations to allow Hass avocados (Persea americana) from Colombia to be imported into the continental United States. In evaluating Colombia’s request, we prepared a pest risk assessment (PRA) and 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 of Fresh Fruit of Avocado, Persea americana Miller var. ‘Hass’, into the Continental United States from Colombia: A Pathway Initiated Risk Assessment,’’ analyzes the potential pest risk associated with the importation of fresh Hass avocados into the continental United States from Colombia. The PRA identifies four pests of quarantine significance present in Colombia that could follow the pathway of Hass avocados from Colombia to the continental United States. They are: • Heilipus lauri Boheman, an avocado seed weevil. VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:35 Oct 26, 2016 Jkt 241001 • Heilipus trifasciatus, an avocado seed weevil. • Maconellicoccus hirsutus (Green), pink hibiscus mealybug. • Stenoma catenifer, avocado seed moth. The PRA derives plant pest risk potentials for these pests by estimating the likelihood of introduction of each pest into the continental United States through the importation of Hass avocados from Colombia, as well as the consequences of such introduction, if the avocados are not subject to mitigations to address the pests. The PRA considers three of the pests to have a high unmitigated pest risk potential (H. lauri, H. trifasciatus, and S. catenifer), and one (M. hirsutus) to have a medium unmitigated pest risk potential. Based on the findings of the PRA, APHIS has determined that measures beyond standard port-of-entry inspection are necessary in order to mitigate the risk associated with the importation of fresh Hass avocados from Colombia into the continental United States. These measures are listed in the RMD and are used as the basis for the requirements of this proposed rule. Therefore, we are proposing to amend the regulations to allow the importation of commercial consignments of fresh Hass avocados from Colombia into the continental United States, subject to a systems approach. Requirements of the systems approach, which would be added to the regulations as a new § 319.56–76, are discussed below. Proposed Systems Approach General Requirements Proposed paragraph (a) of § 319.56–76 would set out general requirements for fresh Hass avocados from Colombia destined for export to the continental United States. Proposed paragraph (a)(1) would require the NPPO of Colombia to provide an operational workplan to APHIS that details the systems approach activities that the NPPO of Colombia and places of production and packinghouses registered with the NPPO of Colombia would, subject to APHIS approval of the workplan, implement to meet the proposed requirements. An operational workplan is an arrangement between APHIS’ Plant Protection and Quarantine program and officials of the NPPO of a foreign government that specifies in detail the phytosanitary measures that will comply with U.S. regulations governing the import or export of a specific commodity. Other foreign parties associated with an export program, such PO 00000 Frm 00004 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 74723 as producers and packinghouse operators, may also be signatories on specific operational workplans. Operational workplans apply only to the signatories and establish detailed procedures and guidance for the day-today operations of specific import/export programs. Operational 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. Operational workplans require APHIS approval. If the operational workplan is approved, APHIS would be directly involved with the NPPO of Colombia in monitoring and auditing the systems approach implementation. Such monitoring could involve site visits by APHIS personnel. Proposed paragraph (a)(2) would require the avocados considered for export to the continental United States to be grown by places of production that are registered with the NPPO of Colombia and that have been determined to be free from H. lauri, H. trifasciatus, and S. catenifer in accordance with the proposed regulations. We discuss the proposed protocol for considering a production site free from these three pests later in this document. Proposed paragraph (a)(3) would require the avocados to be packed for export to the continental United States in pest-exclusionary packinghouses that are registered with the NPPO of Colombia. Registration of places of production and packinghouses with the NPPO of Colombia would ensure that the NPPO exercises oversight of these locations and that the places of production and packinghouses continuously follow the provisions of the export program. It would also facilitate traceback in the event that avocados from Colombia are determined to be infested with quarantine pests. Proposed paragraph (a)(4) would require Hass avocados from Colombia to be imported into the continental United States in commercial consignments only. 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, E:\FR\FM\27OCP1.SGM 27OCP1 74724 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 208 / Thursday, October 27, 2016 / Proposed Rules sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with PROPOSALS identification of place of production or packinghouse on the packaging, and documents consigning the fruits or vegetables to a wholesaler or retailer. We currently require most other fruits and vegetables imported into the United States from foreign countries to be imported in commercial consignments as a mitigation against quarantine pests of that commodity. Monitoring and Oversight The systems approach we are proposing includes monitoring and oversight requirements in paragraph (b) of proposed § 319.56–76. These requirements are to ensure that the required phytosanitary measures are properly implemented throughout the process of growing and packing of avocados for export to the United States. Proposed paragraph (b)(1) would require the NPPO of Colombia to visit and inspect registered places of production monthly, starting at least 2 months before harvest and continuing until the end of the shipping season, to verify that the growers are complying with grove sanitation requirements (discussed below) and following pest control guidelines, when necessary, to reduce quarantine pest populations. Any personnel conducting trapping and pest surveys under this section at registered places of production would have to be hired, trained, and supervised by the NPPO of Colombia. APHIS would monitor the places of production, if necessary. We may consider it necessary to monitor a place of production, for example, if a registered place of production is suspended from the export program for avocadoes from Colombia due to the presence of quarantine plant pests at the place of production, but is subsequently reinstated after taking appropriate remedial actions to address these pests. Under paragraph (b)(2), in addition to conducting fruit inspections at the packinghouses, the NPPO of Colombia would be required to monitor packinghouse operations to verify that the packinghouses are complying with the packinghouse requirements for pest exclusion, safeguarding, and identification that are described later in this document. Under paragraph (b)(3), if the NPPO of Colombia finds that a place of production or a packinghouse is not complying with the proposed regulations, no avocados from the place of production or packinghouse would be eligible for export to the United States until APHIS and the NPPO of Colombia conduct an investigation and agree that appropriate remedial actions have been implemented. VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:35 Oct 26, 2016 Jkt 241001 Paragraph (b)(4) would require the NPPO of Colombia to retain all forms and documents related to export program activities in places of production and packinghouses for at least 1 year and, as requested, provide them to APHIS for review. Such forms and documents would include (but would not necessarily be limited to) trapping and survey records for H. lauri, H. trifasciatus, and S. catenifer, as well as inspection records, and, if applicable, treatment records. Treatment records would be applicable when, for instance, the NPPO has required a place of production to follow pest control guidelines as a condition of registration, and these guidelines include treatment. Grove Sanitation Under paragraph (c) of proposed § 319.56–76, avocado fruit that has fallen from the trees would have to be removed from each place of production at least once every 7 days, starting 2 months before harvest and continuing to the end of harvest. This procedure would reduce the amount of material in the groves that could serve as potential host material for insect pests. Fruit that has fallen from avocado trees to the ground may be damaged and thus more susceptible to infestation. Therefore, proposed paragraph (c) would not allow fallen avocado fruit to be included in field containers of fruit brought to the packinghouse to be packed for export. Mitigation Measures for H. lauri, H. trifasciatus, and S. catenifer Proposed paragraph (d) of § 319.56–76 would require either that the avocados are grown in places of production located in departments 1 of Colombia that are designated as free of H. lauri, H. trifasciatus, and S. catenifer in accordance with § 319.56–5, or are grown in places of production that have been surveyed by the NPPO of Colombia and have been determined to be free of these pests. (We discuss measures designed to remove M. hirsutus from the pathway of the avocados later in this document.) Section 319.56–5 specifies that, to be determined to be free of a quarantine pest, an area must be surveyed according to a survey protocol approved by APHIS, and meet the International Plant Protection Convention’s International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures (ISPM) No. 4, ‘‘Requirements for the establishment of pest-free areas.’’ ISPM No. 4 require the NPPO to take measures to maintain the 1 Departments are the administrative unit of Colombia. PO 00000 Frm 00005 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 pest-free status of the area, including, but not limited to, routine monitoring or the establishment of buffer areas. Similarly, in order for a place of production to be determined by APHIS to be free of H. lauri, H. trifasciatus, and S. catenifer if it is not located in a pestfree department, the NPPO of Colombia would have to maintain a 1 kilometer buffer zone around the perimeter of the place of production, and would have to survey representative areas of the place of production and buffer zone for H. lauri, H. trifasciatus, and S. catenifer monthly, beginning no more than 2 months before harvest, in accordance with a survey protocol approved by APHIS. If one or more H. lauri, H. trifasciatus, or S. catenifer is detected during a survey of the place of production or buffer zone, the place of production would be suspended from the export program for avocados to the continental United States until APHIS and the NPPO of Colombia conduct an investigation and agree that appropriate remedial actions to reestablish pest freedom have been implemented. Harvesting Requirements Paragraph (e) of proposed § 319.56–76 sets out requirements for harvesting. Harvested avocados would have to be placed in field cartons or containers that are marked with the official registration number of the place of production. The place of production where the avocados were grown would have to remain identifiable when the fruit leaves the grove, at the packinghouse, and throughout the export process. These requirements would ensure that APHIS and the NPPO of Colombia could identify the place of production where the avocados were produced if inspectors find quarantine pests in the fruit either before export or at the port of entry. We would require the fruit to be moved to a registered packinghouse within 3 hours of harvest or to be protected from fruit fly introduction until moved. Ceratitis capitata and Anastrepha spp. fruit flies are known to exist in Colombia, but Hass avocados are only hosts of these fruit flies once they are harvested. Safeguarding or expeditious shipment to a pestexclusionary packinghouse would help preclude harvested avocados from becoming infested with fruit flies. For a similar reason, the fruit would also have to be safeguarded in accordance with the operational workplan while in transit to the packinghouse and while awaiting packing. This safeguarding would prevent the fruit from being infested E:\FR\FM\27OCP1.SGM 27OCP1 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 208 / Thursday, October 27, 2016 / Proposed Rules with fruit flies between harvest and packing. Packinghouse Requirements Proposed paragraph (f) of § 319.56–76 would contain packinghouse requirements for Hass avocados from Colombia. Paragraph (f)(1) would require registered packinghouses to accept only avocados that are from registered places of production and that are produced in accordance with the requirements of the systems approach during the time they are in use for packing avocados for export to the United States. Paragraph (f)(2) would require avocados to be packed within 24 hours of harvest in a pest-exclusionary packinghouse. All openings to the outside of the packinghouse would have to be screened or covered by a barrier that prevents pest from entering, as specified within the operational workplan. The packinghouse would have to have double doors at the entrance to the facility and at the interior entrance to the area where the avocados are packed. These proposed requirements are designed to exclude insect pests from the packinghouse. Paragraph (f)(3) would require the avocados to be packed in insect-proof packaging, or covered with insect-proof mesh or a plastic tarpaulin, for transport to the United States. These safeguards would have to remain intact until arrival in the United States. Paragraph (f)(4) would require shipping documents accompanying consignments of avocados from Colombia that are exported to the United States to specify the place of production at which the avocados were grown as well as the packing shed or sheds in which the fruit was processed and packed. The identification would have to be maintained until the fruit is released for entry into the United States. These requirements would ensure that APHIS and the NPPO of Colombia could identify the packinghouse at which the fruit was packed if inspectors find quarantine pests in the fruit either before export or at the port of entry. sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with PROPOSALS NPPO of Colombia Inspection Proposed paragraph (g) of § 319.56–76 would require the NPPO of Colombia to visually inspect a biometric sample of fruit from each place of production at a rate determined by APHIS, following any post-harvest processing. Visual inspection should identify M. hirsutus, an external feeder. However, H. lauri, H. trifasciatus, and S. catenifer are all internal feeders. Accordingly, we would also require the VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:35 Oct 26, 2016 Jkt 241001 inspector to cut a portion of the fruit to inspect for these pests. If a single quarantine pest is detected during this inspection protocol, the consignment from which the sample was taken would be prohibited from being shipped to the United States. Additionally, if a single H. lauri, H. trifasciatus, or S. catenifer at any life stage is detected during this inspection, the place of production of the infested avocados would be suspended from the export program for avocados to the continental United States until APHIS and the NPPO of Colombia conduct an investigation and agree that appropriate remedial actions to reestablish pest freedom have been implemented. Phytosanitary Certificate Proposed paragraph (h) of § 319.56–76 would require each consignment of Hass avocados from Colombia to be accompanied by a phytosanitary certificate issued by the NPPO of Colombia with an additional declaration that the avocados were produced in accordance with proposed § 319.56–76 and the operational workplan. 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 an initial regulatory flexibility analysis that examines the potential economic effects of this proposed rule 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, in the reading room (see ADDRESSES above for more information), or on the Regulations.gov Web site (see ADDRESSES above for instructions for accessing Regulations.gov). Colombia has requested market access for commercial shipments of Hass avocado into the continental United States under a systems approach. U.S. avocado imports have increased significantly over the years. A growing U.S. population and growing Hispanic share of the population, greater awareness of the avocado’s health benefits, year-round availability of fresh, affordable Hass avocados, and greater disposable income have contributed to the increased demand. The increase in demand over the past decade has contributed to domestic PO 00000 Frm 00006 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 74725 producers being able to maintain production levels despite the large increase in avocado imports. Annual U.S. avocado production, 2003/04 to 2014/15, averaged 206,368 tons, of which California accounted for 87.5 percent or over 375 million pounds. Nearly all of California’s production is of the Hass variety. Potential economic effects of this rule are estimated using a partial equilibrium model of the U.S. fresh Hass avocado sector. Colombia is expected to export 10,000 metric tons of Hass avocados annually to the United States. We estimated economic impacts for annual import levels of 10,000 and 12,000 metric tons. In addition, for the 10,000 metric ton level, we estimate impacts assuming that 20 percent of the imports would displace Hass avocado imports from other countries, yielding a net increase in imports of 8,000 metric tons. For each import level, consumer welfare gains outweigh producer welfare losses, with positive net welfare impacts. Producer welfare losses under the three import levels range between $4 million and $6 million, which is equivalent to less than 1 percent of the 2014/2015 value of U.S. avocado production. Consumer welfare gains range between $14 million and $22 million, with net welfare gains for the United States of between $10 million and $16 million. The price of fresh Hass avocados is estimated to decline by less than 2 percent under all three import scenarios. While APHIS does not have information on the size distribution of U.S. avocado producers, according to the Census of Agriculture there were a total of 93,020 Fruit and Tree Nut farms (NAICS 1113) in the United States in 2012. The average value of agricultural products sold by these farms was less than $274,000, which is well below the Small Business Administration’s smallentity standard of $750,000. It is reasonable to assume that most avocado farms qualify as small entities. Between 2002 and 2012, the number of avocado operations in California grew by approximately 17 percent, from 4,801 to 5,602 operations. Executive Order 12988 This proposed rule would allow Hass avocados to be imported into the continental United States from Colombia. If this proposed rule is adopted, State and local laws and regulations regarding avocados imported under this rule would be preempted while the fruit is in foreign commerce. Fresh avocados are generally imported for immediate distribution and sale to the consuming public and would E:\FR\FM\27OCP1.SGM 27OCP1 74726 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 208 / Thursday, October 27, 2016 / Proposed Rules sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with PROPOSALS 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 caseby-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.), reporting and recordkeeping requirements included in this proposed rule have been submitted for approval to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). Please send comments on the Information Collection Request (ICR) to OMB’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs via email to oira_submissions@ omb.eop.gov, Attention: Desk Officer for APHIS, Washington, DC 20503. Please state that your comments refer to Docket No. APHIS–2016–0022. Please send a copy of your comments to the USDA using one of the methods described under ADDRESSES at the beginning of this document. This proposed rule would allow the importation of Hass avocados from Colombia into the continental United States. These avocados must be produced in accordance with the requirements of a systems approach and will require information collection activities, such as an operational workplan, production site and packinghouse registration, inspection, training, monitoring, investigation, survey and survey investigation protocols, carton markings, shipping documents, post-harvest inspection and investigation, recordkeeping, and phytosanitary certificates. 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 VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:35 Oct 26, 2016 Jkt 241001 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 3.44 hours per response. Respondents: Producers, importers of Hass avocados, the NPPO of Colombia. Estimated annual number of respondents: 79. Estimated annual number of responses per respondent: 35.99. Estimated annual number of responses: 2,843. Estimated total annual burden on respondents: 9,783 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.) A copy of the information collection may be viewed on the Regulations.gov Web site or in our reading room. (A link to Regulations.gov and information on the location and hours of the reading room are provided under the heading ADDRESSES at the beginning of this proposed rule.) Copies can also be obtained from Ms. Kimberly Hardy, APHIS’ Information Collection Coordinator, at (301) 851–2727. APHIS will respond to any ICR-related comments in the final rule. All comments will also become a matter of public record. 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 Ms. Kimberly Hardy, APHIS’ Information Collection Coordinator, at (301) 851– 2727. List of Subjects for 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: ■ PO 00000 Frm 00007 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 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 § 319.56–76 to read as follows: § 319.56–76 Colombia. Hass avocados from Fresh Hass variety (Persea americana P. Mill) avocados may be imported into the continental United States from Colombia only under the conditions described in this section. These conditions are designed to prevent the introduction of the following quarantine pests: Heilipus lauri Boheman, avocado seed weevil; Heilipus trifasciatus, avocado seed weevil; Maconellicoccus hirsutus (Green), pink hibiscus mealybug; and Stenoma catenifer, avocado seed moth. (a) General requirements. (1) Operational workplan. The national plant protection organization (NPPO) of Colombia must provide an operational workplan to APHIS that details the activities that the NPPO of Colombia and places of production and packinghouses registered with the NPPO of Colombia will, subject to APHIS’ approval of the workplan, carry out to meet the requirements of this section. The operational workplan must include and describe the specific requirements as set forth in this section. APHIS will be directly involved with the NPPO of Colombia in monitoring and auditing implementation of the regulatory requirements in this section, including implementation of the operational workplan. (2) Registered places of production. The fresh avocados considered for export to the continental United States must be grown by places of production that are registered with the NPPO of Colombia and that have been determined to be free from H. lauri, H. trifasciatus, and S. catenifer in accordance with this section. (3) Registered packinghouses. The avocados must be packed for export to the continental United States in pestexclusionary packinghouses that are registered with the NPPO of Colombia. (4) Avocados may be imported in commercial consignments only. (b) Monitoring and oversight. (1) The NPPO of Colombia must visit and inspect registered places of production monthly, starting at least 2 months before harvest and continuing until the end of the shipping season, to verify that the growers are complying with the grove sanitation requirements of this section and following pest control guidelines, when necessary, to reduce quarantine pest populations. Any personnel conducting trapping and pest surveys under this section at registered E:\FR\FM\27OCP1.SGM 27OCP1 sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with PROPOSALS Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 208 / Thursday, October 27, 2016 / Proposed Rules places of production must be hired, trained, and supervised by the NPPO of Colombia. APHIS may monitor the places of production if necessary. (2) In addition to conducting fruit inspections at the packinghouses, the NPPO of Colombia must monitor packinghouse operations to verify that the packinghouses are complying with the requirements of this section. (3) If the NPPO of Colombia finds that a place of production or packinghouse is not complying with the requirements of this section, no avocados from the place of production or packinghouse will be eligible for export to the United States until APHIS and the NPPO of Colombia conduct an investigation and agree that appropriate remedial actions have been implemented. (4) The NPPO of Colombia must retain all forms and documents related to export program activities in places of production and packinghouses for at least 1 year and, as requested, provide them to APHIS for review. (c) Grove sanitation. Avocado fruit that has fallen from the trees must be removed from each place of production at least once every 7 days, starting 2 months before harvest and continuing to the end of harvest. Fallen avocado fruit may not be included in field containers of fruit brought to the packinghouse to be packed for export. (d) Mitigation measures for H. lauri, H. trifasciatus, and S. catenifer. Avocados must either be grown in places of production located in departments of Colombia that are designated as free of H. lauri, H. trifasciatus, and S. catenifer in accordance with § 319.56–5 of this chapter, or be grown in places of production that have been surveyed by the NPPO of Colombia and have been determined to be free of these pests. If the latter, the NPPO must maintain a buffer zone of 1 kilometer around the perimeter of the place of production, and must survey representative areas of the place of production and buffer zone for H. lauri, H. trifasciatus, and S. catenifer monthly, beginning no more than 2 months before harvest, in accordance with a survey protocol approved by APHIS. If one or more H. lauri, H. trifasciatus, or S. catenifer is detected during a survey of the place of production or buffer zone, the place of production will be suspended from the export program for avocados to the continental United States until APHIS and the NPPO of Colombia conduct an investigation and agree that appropriate remedial actions to reestablish pest freedom have been implemented. (e) Harvesting requirements. Harvested avocados must be placed in VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:35 Oct 26, 2016 Jkt 241001 field cartons or containers that are marked with the official registration number of the place of production. The place of production where the avocados were grown must remain identifiable when the fruit leaves the grove, at the packinghouse, and throughout the export process. The fruit must be moved to a registered packinghouse within 3 hours of harvest or must be protected from fruit fly introduction until moved. The fruit must be safeguarded in accordance with the operational workplan while in transit to the packinghouse and while awaiting packing. (f) Packinghouse requirements. (1) During the time registered packinghouses are in use for packing avocados for export to the United States, the packinghouses may only accept avocados that are from registered places of production and that are produced in accordance with the requirements of this section. (2) Avocados must be packed within 24 hours of harvest in a pestexclusionary packinghouse. All openings to the outside of the packinghouse must be screened or covered by a barrier that prevents pests from entering, as specified within the operational workplan. The packinghouse must have double doors at the entrance to the facility and at the interior entrance to the area where the avocados are packed. (3) Fruit must be packed in insectproof packaging, or covered with insectproof mesh or a plastic tarpaulin, for transport to the United States. These safeguards must remain intact until arrival in the United States. (4) Shipping documents accompanying consignments of avocados from Colombia that are exported to the United States must specify the place of production at which the avocados were grown as well as the packing shed or sheds in which the fruit was processed and packed. This identification must be maintained until the fruit is released for entry into the United States. (g) NPPO of Colombia inspection. Following any post-harvest processing, inspectors from the NPPO of Colombia must visually inspect a biometric sample of fruit from each place of production at a rate to be determined by APHIS. The inspectors must visually inspect for quarantine pests, including M. hirsutus, and must cut a portion of the fruit to inspect for H. lauri, H. trifasciatus, and S. catenifer. If a single quarantine pest is detected during this inspection protocol, the consignment from which the sample was taken is prohibited from being shipped to the PO 00000 Frm 00008 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 74727 United States. Additionally, if a single H. lauri, H. trifasciatus, or S. catenifer at any life stage is detected during this inspection, the place of production of the infested avocados will be suspended from the export program for avocados to the continental United States until APHIS and the NPPO of Colombia conduct an investigation and agree that appropriate remedial actions to reestablish pest freedom have been implemented. (h) Phytosanitary certificate. Each consignment of Hass avocados from Colombia must be accompanied by a phytosanitary certificate issued by the NPPO of Colombia with an additional declaration stating that the avocados in the consignment were produced in accordance with this section and the operational workplan. Done in Washington, DC, this 21st day of October 2016. Michael C. Gregoire, Acting Administrator, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. [FR Doc. 2016–26033 Filed 10–26–16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410–34–P DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY 10 CFR Part 431 [Docket Number EERE–2014–BT–STD– 0048] RIN 1904–AD37 Energy Conservation Standards for Residential Central Air Conditioners and Heat Pumps: Availability of Provisional Analysis Results Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Department of Energy. ACTION: Notice of data availability (NODA). AGENCY: The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has completed a provisional analysis to translate the residential central air conditioner and heat pump energy conservation standard levels recommended by the CAC/HP ECS Working Group— expressed in terms of the test procedure at the time of the Working Group negotiations—into levels consistent with the DOE test procedure proposed in the August 2016 test procedure SNOPR. At this time, DOE is not proposing any energy conservation standard for residential central air conditioners and heat pumps. However, it is publishing these analysis results and the underlining assumptions and calculations that might ultimately support a proposed standard. DOE SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\27OCP1.SGM 27OCP1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 81, Number 208 (Thursday, October 27, 2016)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 74722-74727]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2016-26033]


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DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service

7 CFR Part 319

[Docket No. APHIS-2016-0022]
RIN 0579-AE29


Importation of Hass Avocados From Colombia

AGENCY: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, USDA.

ACTION: Proposed rule.

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

SUMMARY: We are proposing to amend the fruits and vegetables 
regulations to allow the importation of Hass avocados from Colombia 
into the continental United States. As a condition of entry, Hass 
avocados from Colombia would have to be produced in accordance with a 
systems approach that would include requirements for importation in 
commercial consignments; registration and monitoring of places of 
production and packinghouses; pest-free places of production; grove 
sanitation, monitoring, and pest control practices; lot identification; 
and inspection for quarantine pests by the Colombian national plant 
protection organization. Additionally, avocados from Colombia would be 
required to be accompanied by a phytosanitary certificate with an 
additional declaration stating that the avocados have been produced in 
accordance with the proposed requirements. This action would allow for 
the importation of Hass avocados from Colombia into the continental 
United States while continuing to provide protection against the 
introduction of plant pests.

DATES: We will consider all comments that we receive on or before 
December 27, 2016.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments by either of the following methods:
     Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=APHIS-2016-0022.
     Postal Mail/Commercial Delivery: Send your comments to 
Docket No. APHIS-2016-0022, Regulatory Analysis and Development, PPD, 
APHIS, Station 3A-03.8, 4700 River Road, Unit 118, Riverdale, MD 20737-
1238.

[[Page 74723]]

    Supporting documents and any comments we receive on this docket may 
be viewed at http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=APHIS-2016-
0022 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 B. Lamb, Senior Regulatory 
Policy Specialist, USDA/APHIS/PPQ, 4700 River Road, Unit 133, 
Riverdale, MD 20737-1236; (301) 851-2103; David.B.Lamb@aphis.usda.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

    Under the regulations in ``Subpart--Fruits and Vegetables'' (7 CFR 
319.56-1 through 319.56-75, referred to below as the regulations or the 
fruits and vegetables regulations), the Animal and Plant Health 
Inspection Service (APHIS) of the United States Department of 
Agriculture (USDA) prohibits or restricts the importation of fruits and 
vegetables into the United States from certain parts of the world to 
prevent plant pests from being introduced into and spread within the 
United States.
    The national plant protection organization (NPPO) of Colombia has 
requested that we amend the regulations to allow Hass avocados (Persea 
americana) from Colombia to be imported into the continental United 
States.
    In evaluating Colombia's request, we prepared a pest risk 
assessment (PRA) and 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 of Fresh Fruit of Avocado, Persea 
americana Miller var. `Hass', into the Continental United States from 
Colombia: A Pathway Initiated Risk Assessment,'' analyzes the potential 
pest risk associated with the importation of fresh Hass avocados into 
the continental United States from Colombia.
    The PRA identifies four pests of quarantine significance present in 
Colombia that could follow the pathway of Hass avocados from Colombia 
to the continental United States. They are:
     Heilipus lauri Boheman, an avocado seed weevil.
     Heilipus trifasciatus, an avocado seed weevil.
     Maconellicoccus hirsutus (Green), pink hibiscus mealybug.
     Stenoma catenifer, avocado seed moth.
    The PRA derives plant pest risk potentials for these pests by 
estimating the likelihood of introduction of each pest into the 
continental United States through the importation of Hass avocados from 
Colombia, as well as the consequences of such introduction, if the 
avocados are not subject to mitigations to address the pests. The PRA 
considers three of the pests to have a high unmitigated pest risk 
potential (H. lauri, H. trifasciatus, and S. catenifer), and one (M. 
hirsutus) to have a medium unmitigated pest risk potential.
    Based on the findings of the PRA, APHIS has determined that 
measures beyond standard port-of-entry inspection are necessary in 
order to mitigate the risk associated with the importation of fresh 
Hass avocados from Colombia into the continental United States. These 
measures are listed in the RMD and are used as the basis for the 
requirements of this proposed rule.
    Therefore, we are proposing to amend the regulations to allow the 
importation of commercial consignments of fresh Hass avocados from 
Colombia into the continental United States, subject to a systems 
approach. Requirements of the systems approach, which would be added to 
the regulations as a new Sec.  319.56-76, are discussed below.

Proposed Systems Approach

General Requirements

    Proposed paragraph (a) of Sec.  319.56-76 would set out general 
requirements for fresh Hass avocados from Colombia destined for export 
to the continental United States.
    Proposed paragraph (a)(1) would require the NPPO of Colombia to 
provide an operational workplan to APHIS that details the systems 
approach activities that the NPPO of Colombia and places of production 
and packinghouses registered with the NPPO of Colombia would, subject 
to APHIS approval of the workplan, implement to meet the proposed 
requirements. An operational workplan is an arrangement between APHIS' 
Plant Protection and Quarantine program and officials of the NPPO of a 
foreign government that specifies in detail the phytosanitary measures 
that will comply with U.S. regulations governing the import or export 
of a specific commodity. Other foreign parties associated with an 
export program, such as producers and packinghouse operators, may also 
be signatories on specific operational workplans. Operational workplans 
apply only to the signatories and establish detailed procedures and 
guidance for the day-to-day operations of specific import/export 
programs. Operational 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. Operational 
workplans require APHIS approval.
    If the operational workplan is approved, APHIS would be directly 
involved with the NPPO of Colombia in monitoring and auditing the 
systems approach implementation. Such monitoring could involve site 
visits by APHIS personnel.
    Proposed paragraph (a)(2) would require the avocados considered for 
export to the continental United States to be grown by places of 
production that are registered with the NPPO of Colombia and that have 
been determined to be free from H. lauri, H. trifasciatus, and S. 
catenifer in accordance with the proposed regulations. We discuss the 
proposed protocol for considering a production site free from these 
three pests later in this document.
    Proposed paragraph (a)(3) would require the avocados to be packed 
for export to the continental United States in pest-exclusionary 
packinghouses that are registered with the NPPO of Colombia.
    Registration of places of production and packinghouses with the 
NPPO of Colombia would ensure that the NPPO exercises oversight of 
these locations and that the places of production and packinghouses 
continuously follow the provisions of the export program. It would also 
facilitate traceback in the event that avocados from Colombia are 
determined to be infested with quarantine pests.
    Proposed paragraph (a)(4) would require Hass avocados from Colombia 
to be imported into the continental United States in commercial 
consignments only. 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,

[[Page 74724]]

identification of place of production or packinghouse on the packaging, 
and documents consigning the fruits or vegetables to a wholesaler or 
retailer. We currently require most other fruits and vegetables 
imported into the United States from foreign countries to be imported 
in commercial consignments as a mitigation against quarantine pests of 
that commodity.

Monitoring and Oversight

    The systems approach we are proposing includes monitoring and 
oversight requirements in paragraph (b) of proposed Sec.  319.56-76. 
These requirements are to ensure that the required phytosanitary 
measures are properly implemented throughout the process of growing and 
packing of avocados for export to the United States.
    Proposed paragraph (b)(1) would require the NPPO of Colombia to 
visit and inspect registered places of production monthly, starting at 
least 2 months before harvest and continuing until the end of the 
shipping season, to verify that the growers are complying with grove 
sanitation requirements (discussed below) and following pest control 
guidelines, when necessary, to reduce quarantine pest populations. Any 
personnel conducting trapping and pest surveys under this section at 
registered places of production would have to be hired, trained, and 
supervised by the NPPO of Colombia. APHIS would monitor the places of 
production, if necessary. We may consider it necessary to monitor a 
place of production, for example, if a registered place of production 
is suspended from the export program for avocadoes from Colombia due to 
the presence of quarantine plant pests at the place of production, but 
is subsequently reinstated after taking appropriate remedial actions to 
address these pests.
    Under paragraph (b)(2), in addition to conducting fruit inspections 
at the packinghouses, the NPPO of Colombia would be required to monitor 
packinghouse operations to verify that the packinghouses are complying 
with the packinghouse requirements for pest exclusion, safeguarding, 
and identification that are described later in this document.
    Under paragraph (b)(3), if the NPPO of Colombia finds that a place 
of production or a packinghouse is not complying with the proposed 
regulations, no avocados from the place of production or packinghouse 
would be eligible for export to the United States until APHIS and the 
NPPO of Colombia conduct an investigation and agree that appropriate 
remedial actions have been implemented.
    Paragraph (b)(4) would require the NPPO of Colombia to retain all 
forms and documents related to export program activities in places of 
production and packinghouses for at least 1 year and, as requested, 
provide them to APHIS for review. Such forms and documents would 
include (but would not necessarily be limited to) trapping and survey 
records for H. lauri, H. trifasciatus, and S. catenifer, as well as 
inspection records, and, if applicable, treatment records. Treatment 
records would be applicable when, for instance, the NPPO has required a 
place of production to follow pest control guidelines as a condition of 
registration, and these guidelines include treatment.

Grove Sanitation

    Under paragraph (c) of proposed Sec.  319.56-76, avocado fruit that 
has fallen from the trees would have to be removed from each place of 
production at least once every 7 days, starting 2 months before harvest 
and continuing to the end of harvest. This procedure would reduce the 
amount of material in the groves that could serve as potential host 
material for insect pests.
    Fruit that has fallen from avocado trees to the ground may be 
damaged and thus more susceptible to infestation. Therefore, proposed 
paragraph (c) would not allow fallen avocado fruit to be included in 
field containers of fruit brought to the packinghouse to be packed for 
export.

Mitigation Measures for H. lauri, H. trifasciatus, and S. catenifer

    Proposed paragraph (d) of Sec.  319.56-76 would require either that 
the avocados are grown in places of production located in departments 
\1\ of Colombia that are designated as free of H. lauri, H. 
trifasciatus, and S. catenifer in accordance with Sec.  319.56-5, or 
are grown in places of production that have been surveyed by the NPPO 
of Colombia and have been determined to be free of these pests. (We 
discuss measures designed to remove M. hirsutus from the pathway of the 
avocados later in this document.)
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \1\ Departments are the administrative unit of Colombia.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Section 319.56-5 specifies that, to be determined to be free of a 
quarantine pest, an area must be surveyed according to a survey 
protocol approved by APHIS, and meet the International Plant Protection 
Convention's International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures (ISPM) 
No. 4, ``Requirements for the establishment of pest-free areas.'' ISPM 
No. 4 require the NPPO to take measures to maintain the pest-free 
status of the area, including, but not limited to, routine monitoring 
or the establishment of buffer areas.
    Similarly, in order for a place of production to be determined by 
APHIS to be free of H. lauri, H. trifasciatus, and S. catenifer if it 
is not located in a pest-free department, the NPPO of Colombia would 
have to maintain a 1 kilometer buffer zone around the perimeter of the 
place of production, and would have to survey representative areas of 
the place of production and buffer zone for H. lauri, H. trifasciatus, 
and S. catenifer monthly, beginning no more than 2 months before 
harvest, in accordance with a survey protocol approved by APHIS.
    If one or more H. lauri, H. trifasciatus, or S. catenifer is 
detected during a survey of the place of production or buffer zone, the 
place of production would be suspended from the export program for 
avocados to the continental United States until APHIS and the NPPO of 
Colombia conduct an investigation and agree that appropriate remedial 
actions to reestablish pest freedom have been implemented.

Harvesting Requirements

    Paragraph (e) of proposed Sec.  319.56-76 sets out requirements for 
harvesting. Harvested avocados would have to be placed in field cartons 
or containers that are marked with the official registration number of 
the place of production. The place of production where the avocados 
were grown would have to remain identifiable when the fruit leaves the 
grove, at the packinghouse, and throughout the export process. These 
requirements would ensure that APHIS and the NPPO of Colombia could 
identify the place of production where the avocados were produced if 
inspectors find quarantine pests in the fruit either before export or 
at the port of entry.
    We would require the fruit to be moved to a registered packinghouse 
within 3 hours of harvest or to be protected from fruit fly 
introduction until moved. Ceratitis capitata and Anastrepha spp. fruit 
flies are known to exist in Colombia, but Hass avocados are only hosts 
of these fruit flies once they are harvested. Safeguarding or 
expeditious shipment to a pest-exclusionary packinghouse would help 
preclude harvested avocados from becoming infested with fruit flies.
    For a similar reason, the fruit would also have to be safeguarded 
in accordance with the operational workplan while in transit to the 
packinghouse and while awaiting packing. This safeguarding would 
prevent the fruit from being infested

[[Page 74725]]

with fruit flies between harvest and packing.

Packinghouse Requirements

    Proposed paragraph (f) of Sec.  319.56-76 would contain 
packinghouse requirements for Hass avocados from Colombia.
    Paragraph (f)(1) would require registered packinghouses to accept 
only avocados that are from registered places of production and that 
are produced in accordance with the requirements of the systems 
approach during the time they are in use for packing avocados for 
export to the United States.
    Paragraph (f)(2) would require avocados to be packed within 24 
hours of harvest in a pest-exclusionary packinghouse. All openings to 
the outside of the packinghouse would have to be screened or covered by 
a barrier that prevents pest from entering, as specified within the 
operational workplan. The packinghouse would have to have double doors 
at the entrance to the facility and at the interior entrance to the 
area where the avocados are packed. These proposed requirements are 
designed to exclude insect pests from the packinghouse.
    Paragraph (f)(3) would require the avocados to be packed in insect-
proof packaging, or covered with insect-proof mesh or a plastic 
tarpaulin, for transport to the United States. These safeguards would 
have to remain intact until arrival in the United States.
    Paragraph (f)(4) would require shipping documents accompanying 
consignments of avocados from Colombia that are exported to the United 
States to specify the place of production at which the avocados were 
grown as well as the packing shed or sheds in which the fruit was 
processed and packed. The identification would have to be maintained 
until the fruit is released for entry into the United States.
    These requirements would ensure that APHIS and the NPPO of Colombia 
could identify the packinghouse at which the fruit was packed if 
inspectors find quarantine pests in the fruit either before export or 
at the port of entry.

NPPO of Colombia Inspection

    Proposed paragraph (g) of Sec.  319.56-76 would require the NPPO of 
Colombia to visually inspect a biometric sample of fruit from each 
place of production at a rate determined by APHIS, following any post-
harvest processing. Visual inspection should identify M. hirsutus, an 
external feeder.
    However, H. lauri, H. trifasciatus, and S. catenifer are all 
internal feeders. Accordingly, we would also require the inspector to 
cut a portion of the fruit to inspect for these pests.
    If a single quarantine pest is detected during this inspection 
protocol, the consignment from which the sample was taken would be 
prohibited from being shipped to the United States. Additionally, if a 
single H. lauri, H. trifasciatus, or S. catenifer at any life stage is 
detected during this inspection, the place of production of the 
infested avocados would be suspended from the export program for 
avocados to the continental United States until APHIS and the NPPO of 
Colombia conduct an investigation and agree that appropriate remedial 
actions to reestablish pest freedom have been implemented.

Phytosanitary Certificate

    Proposed paragraph (h) of Sec.  319.56-76 would require each 
consignment of Hass avocados from Colombia to be accompanied by a 
phytosanitary certificate issued by the NPPO of Colombia with an 
additional declaration that the avocados were produced in accordance 
with proposed Sec.  319.56-76 and the operational workplan.

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 an initial regulatory flexibility analysis that 
examines the potential economic effects of this proposed rule 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, 
in the reading room (see ADDRESSES above for more information), or on 
the Regulations.gov Web site (see ADDRESSES above for instructions for 
accessing Regulations.gov).
    Colombia has requested market access for commercial shipments of 
Hass avocado into the continental United States under a systems 
approach. U.S. avocado imports have increased significantly over the 
years. A growing U.S. population and growing Hispanic share of the 
population, greater awareness of the avocado's health benefits, year-
round availability of fresh, affordable Hass avocados, and greater 
disposable income have contributed to the increased demand.
    The increase in demand over the past decade has contributed to 
domestic producers being able to maintain production levels despite the 
large increase in avocado imports. Annual U.S. avocado production, 
2003/04 to 2014/15, averaged 206,368 tons, of which California 
accounted for 87.5 percent or over 375 million pounds. Nearly all of 
California's production is of the Hass variety.
    Potential economic effects of this rule are estimated using a 
partial equilibrium model of the U.S. fresh Hass avocado sector. 
Colombia is expected to export 10,000 metric tons of Hass avocados 
annually to the United States. We estimated economic impacts for annual 
import levels of 10,000 and 12,000 metric tons. In addition, for the 
10,000 metric ton level, we estimate impacts assuming that 20 percent 
of the imports would displace Hass avocado imports from other 
countries, yielding a net increase in imports of 8,000 metric tons.
    For each import level, consumer welfare gains outweigh producer 
welfare losses, with positive net welfare impacts. Producer welfare 
losses under the three import levels range between $4 million and $6 
million, which is equivalent to less than 1 percent of the 2014/2015 
value of U.S. avocado production. Consumer welfare gains range between 
$14 million and $22 million, with net welfare gains for the United 
States of between $10 million and $16 million. The price of fresh Hass 
avocados is estimated to decline by less than 2 percent under all three 
import scenarios.
    While APHIS does not have information on the size distribution of 
U.S. avocado producers, according to the Census of Agriculture there 
were a total of 93,020 Fruit and Tree Nut farms (NAICS 1113) in the 
United States in 2012. The average value of agricultural products sold 
by these farms was less than $274,000, which is well below the Small 
Business Administration's small-entity standard of $750,000. It is 
reasonable to assume that most avocado farms qualify as small entities. 
Between 2002 and 2012, the number of avocado operations in California 
grew by approximately 17 percent, from 4,801 to 5,602 operations.

Executive Order 12988

    This proposed rule would allow Hass avocados to be imported into 
the continental United States from Colombia. If this proposed rule is 
adopted, State and local laws and regulations regarding avocados 
imported under this rule would be preempted while the fruit is in 
foreign commerce. Fresh avocados are generally imported for immediate 
distribution and sale to the consuming public and would

[[Page 74726]]

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.), reporting and recordkeeping 
requirements included in this proposed rule have been submitted for 
approval to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). Please send 
comments on the Information Collection Request (ICR) to OMB's Office of 
Information and Regulatory Affairs via email to 
oira_submissions@omb.eop.gov, Attention: Desk Officer for APHIS, 
Washington, DC 20503. Please state that your comments refer to Docket 
No. APHIS-2016-0022. Please send a copy of your comments to the USDA 
using one of the methods described under ADDRESSES at the beginning of 
this document.
    This proposed rule would allow the importation of Hass avocados 
from Colombia into the continental United States. These avocados must 
be produced in accordance with the requirements of a systems approach 
and will require information collection activities, such as an 
operational workplan, production site and packinghouse registration, 
inspection, training, monitoring, investigation, survey and survey 
investigation protocols, carton markings, shipping documents, post-
harvest inspection and investigation, recordkeeping, and phytosanitary 
certificates.
    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 3.44 hours per response.
    Respondents: Producers, importers of Hass avocados, the NPPO of 
Colombia.
    Estimated annual number of respondents: 79.
    Estimated annual number of responses per respondent: 35.99.
    Estimated annual number of responses: 2,843.
    Estimated total annual burden on respondents: 9,783 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.)
    A copy of the information collection may be viewed on the 
Regulations.gov Web site or in our reading room. (A link to 
Regulations.gov and information on the location and hours of the 
reading room are provided under the heading ADDRESSES at the beginning 
of this proposed rule.) Copies can also be obtained from Ms. Kimberly 
Hardy, APHIS' Information Collection Coordinator, at (301) 851-2727. 
APHIS will respond to any ICR-related comments in the final rule. All 
comments will also become a matter of public record.

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 Ms. Kimberly 
Hardy, APHIS' Information Collection Coordinator, at (301) 851-2727.

List of Subjects for 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.  319.56-76 to read as follows:


Sec.  319.56-76  Hass avocados from Colombia.

    Fresh Hass variety (Persea americana P. Mill) avocados may be 
imported into the continental United States from Colombia only under 
the conditions described in this section. These conditions are designed 
to prevent the introduction of the following quarantine pests: Heilipus 
lauri Boheman, avocado seed weevil; Heilipus trifasciatus, avocado seed 
weevil; Maconellicoccus hirsutus (Green), pink hibiscus mealybug; and 
Stenoma catenifer, avocado seed moth.
    (a) General requirements. (1) Operational workplan. The national 
plant protection organization (NPPO) of Colombia must provide an 
operational workplan to APHIS that details the activities that the NPPO 
of Colombia and places of production and packinghouses registered with 
the NPPO of Colombia will, subject to APHIS' approval of the workplan, 
carry out to meet the requirements of this section. The operational 
workplan must include and describe the specific requirements as set 
forth in this section. APHIS will be directly involved with the NPPO of 
Colombia in monitoring and auditing implementation of the regulatory 
requirements in this section, including implementation of the 
operational workplan.
    (2) Registered places of production. The fresh avocados considered 
for export to the continental United States must be grown by places of 
production that are registered with the NPPO of Colombia and that have 
been determined to be free from H. lauri, H. trifasciatus, and S. 
catenifer in accordance with this section.
    (3) Registered packinghouses. The avocados must be packed for 
export to the continental United States in pest-exclusionary 
packinghouses that are registered with the NPPO of Colombia.
    (4) Avocados may be imported in commercial consignments only.
    (b) Monitoring and oversight. (1) The NPPO of Colombia must visit 
and inspect registered places of production monthly, starting at least 
2 months before harvest and continuing until the end of the shipping 
season, to verify that the growers are complying with the grove 
sanitation requirements of this section and following pest control 
guidelines, when necessary, to reduce quarantine pest populations. Any 
personnel conducting trapping and pest surveys under this section at 
registered

[[Page 74727]]

places of production must be hired, trained, and supervised by the NPPO 
of Colombia. APHIS may monitor the places of production if necessary.
    (2) In addition to conducting fruit inspections at the 
packinghouses, the NPPO of Colombia must monitor packinghouse 
operations to verify that the packinghouses are complying with the 
requirements of this section.
    (3) If the NPPO of Colombia finds that a place of production or 
packinghouse is not complying with the requirements of this section, no 
avocados from the place of production or packinghouse will be eligible 
for export to the United States until APHIS and the NPPO of Colombia 
conduct an investigation and agree that appropriate remedial actions 
have been implemented.
    (4) The NPPO of Colombia must retain all forms and documents 
related to export program activities in places of production and 
packinghouses for at least 1 year and, as requested, provide them to 
APHIS for review.
    (c) Grove sanitation. Avocado fruit that has fallen from the trees 
must be removed from each place of production at least once every 7 
days, starting 2 months before harvest and continuing to the end of 
harvest. Fallen avocado fruit may not be included in field containers 
of fruit brought to the packinghouse to be packed for export.
    (d) Mitigation measures for H. lauri, H. trifasciatus, and S. 
catenifer. Avocados must either be grown in places of production 
located in departments of Colombia that are designated as free of H. 
lauri, H. trifasciatus, and S. catenifer in accordance with Sec.  
319.56-5 of this chapter, or be grown in places of production that have 
been surveyed by the NPPO of Colombia and have been determined to be 
free of these pests. If the latter, the NPPO must maintain a buffer 
zone of 1 kilometer around the perimeter of the place of production, 
and must survey representative areas of the place of production and 
buffer zone for H. lauri, H. trifasciatus, and S. catenifer monthly, 
beginning no more than 2 months before harvest, in accordance with a 
survey protocol approved by APHIS. If one or more H. lauri, H. 
trifasciatus, or S. catenifer is detected during a survey of the place 
of production or buffer zone, the place of production will be suspended 
from the export program for avocados to the continental United States 
until APHIS and the NPPO of Colombia conduct an investigation and agree 
that appropriate remedial actions to reestablish pest freedom have been 
implemented.
    (e) Harvesting requirements. Harvested avocados must be placed in 
field cartons or containers that are marked with the official 
registration number of the place of production. The place of production 
where the avocados were grown must remain identifiable when the fruit 
leaves the grove, at the packinghouse, and throughout the export 
process. The fruit must be moved to a registered packinghouse within 3 
hours of harvest or must be protected from fruit fly introduction until 
moved. The fruit must be safeguarded in accordance with the operational 
workplan while in transit to the packinghouse and while awaiting 
packing.
    (f) Packinghouse requirements. (1) During the time registered 
packinghouses are in use for packing avocados for export to the United 
States, the packinghouses may only accept avocados that are from 
registered places of production and that are produced in accordance 
with the requirements of this section.
    (2) Avocados must be packed within 24 hours of harvest in a pest-
exclusionary packinghouse. All openings to the outside of the 
packinghouse must be screened or covered by a barrier that prevents 
pests from entering, as specified within the operational workplan. The 
packinghouse must have double doors at the entrance to the facility and 
at the interior entrance to the area where the avocados are packed.
    (3) Fruit must be packed in insect-proof packaging, or covered with 
insect-proof mesh or a plastic tarpaulin, for transport to the United 
States. These safeguards must remain intact until arrival in the United 
States.
    (4) Shipping documents accompanying consignments of avocados from 
Colombia that are exported to the United States must specify the place 
of production at which the avocados were grown as well as the packing 
shed or sheds in which the fruit was processed and packed. This 
identification must be maintained until the fruit is released for entry 
into the United States.
    (g) NPPO of Colombia inspection. Following any post-harvest 
processing, inspectors from the NPPO of Colombia must visually inspect 
a biometric sample of fruit from each place of production at a rate to 
be determined by APHIS. The inspectors must visually inspect for 
quarantine pests, including M. hirsutus, and must cut a portion of the 
fruit to inspect for H. lauri, H. trifasciatus, and S. catenifer. If a 
single quarantine pest is detected during this inspection protocol, the 
consignment from which the sample was taken is prohibited from being 
shipped to the United States. Additionally, if a single H. lauri, H. 
trifasciatus, or S. catenifer at any life stage is detected during this 
inspection, the place of production of the infested avocados will be 
suspended from the export program for avocados to the continental 
United States until APHIS and the NPPO of Colombia conduct an 
investigation and agree that appropriate remedial actions to 
reestablish pest freedom have been implemented.
    (h) Phytosanitary certificate. Each consignment of Hass avocados 
from Colombia must be accompanied by a phytosanitary certificate issued 
by the NPPO of Colombia with an additional declaration stating that the 
avocados in the consignment were produced in accordance with this 
section and the operational workplan.

    Done in Washington, DC, this 21st day of October 2016.
Michael C. Gregoire,
Acting Administrator, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.
[FR Doc. 2016-26033 Filed 10-26-16; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 3410-34-P