Changes to Reporting and Notification Requirements and Other Clarifying Changes for Imported Fruits, Vegetables, and Specialty Crops, 87409-87412 [2016-29022]

Download as PDF 87409 Rules and Regulations Federal Register Vol. 81, No. 233 Monday, December 5, 2016 This section of the FEDERAL REGISTER contains regulatory documents having general applicability and legal effect, most of which are keyed to and codified in the Code of Federal Regulations, which is published under 50 titles pursuant to 44 U.S.C. 1510. The Code of Federal Regulations is sold by the Superintendent of Documents. Prices of new books are listed in the first FEDERAL REGISTER issue of each week. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Agricultural Marketing Service 7 CFR Parts 944, 980, and 999 [Doc. No. AMS–SC–16–0083; SC16–944/980/ 999–1 IR] Changes to Reporting and Notification Requirements and Other Clarifying Changes for Imported Fruits, Vegetables, and Specialty Crops Agricultural Marketing Service, USDA. ACTION: Interim rule with request for comments. AGENCY: This rule updates reporting and notification requirements associated with, and makes clarifying changes to, the fruit, vegetable, and specialty crop import regulations for certain commodities regulated under section 608(e) (hereinafter referred to as ‘‘8e’’) of the Agricultural Marketing Agreement Act of 1937. The updates include shifting the exempt reporting requirement for imported tomatoes destined for noncommercial outlets for experimental purposes from the tomato import regulations to the safeguard procedures section of the vegetable import regulations. In addition, the pistachio import regulations will be updated by removing reference to a paper-based notification of entry process. Other administrative changes will be made to several of the 8e regulations to replace outdated information. These changes to the import regulations support the International Trade Data System (ITDS), a key White House economic initiative that will streamline and automate the filing of import and export information by the trade. DATES: Effective December 8, 2016; comments received by February 3, 2017 will be considered prior to issuance of a final rule. sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with RULES SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:57 Dec 02, 2016 Jkt 241001 Interested persons are invited to submit written comments concerning this rule. Comments must be sent to the Docket Clerk, Marketing Order and Agreement Division, Specialty Crops Program, AMS, USDA, 1400 Independence Avenue SW., STOP 0237, Washington, DC 20250–0237; Fax: (202) 720–8938; or internet: http:// www.regulations.gov. All comments should reference the document number and the date and page number of this issue of the Federal Register and will be made available for public inspection in the Office of the Docket Clerk during regular business hours or can be viewed at: http://www.regulations.gov. All comments submitted in response to this rule will be included in the record and will be made available to the public. Please be advised that the identity of the individuals or entities submitting the comments will be made public on the internet at the address provided above. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Shannon Ramirez, Compliance and Enforcement Specialist, or Vincent Fusaro, Compliance and Enforcement Branch Chief, Specialty Crops Program, AMS, USDA; Telephone: (202) 720– 2491, Fax: (202) 720–8938, or Email: Shannon.Ramirez@ams.usda.gov or VincentJ.Fusaro@ams.usda.gov. Small businesses may request information on complying with this regulation by contacting Richard Lower, Marketing Order and Agreement Division, Specialty Crops Program, AMS, USDA, 1400 Independence Avenue SW., STOP 0237, Washington, DC 20250–0237; Telephone: (202) 720– 2491, Fax: (202) 720–8938, or Email: Richard.Lower@ams.usda.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: This rule is issued under section 8e of the Agricultural Marketing Agreement Act of 1937, as amended (7 U.S.C. 601–674), hereinafter referred to as the ‘‘Act.’’ Section 8e provides that whenever certain commodities are regulated under Federal marketing orders, imports of those commodities into the United States are prohibited unless they meet the same or comparable grade, size, quality, and/or maturity requirements as those in effect for the domestically produced commodities. The Act also authorizes The Department of Agriculture (USDA) to perform inspections and other related functions (such as commodity sampling) on those imported commodities and to certify ADDRESSES: PO 00000 Frm 00001 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 whether these requirements have been met. Parts 944, 980, and 999 of title 7 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) specify inspection, certification, and reporting requirements for imported commodities regulated under 8e. Additionally, these parts specify the imported commodities that may be exempt from grade, size, quality, and/or maturity requirements when imported for specific purposes (such as processing, donation to charitable organizations, or livestock feed) as well as the form importers must use to report to USDA and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) imports of commodities exempt from 8e regulations. USDA is issuing this rule in conformance with Executive Orders 12866, 13563, and 13175. This rule has been reviewed under Executive Order 12988, Civil Justice Reform. This rule is not intended to have retroactive effect. There are no administrative procedures that must be exhausted prior to any judicial challenge to the provisions of import regulations issued under section 8e of the Act. This rule makes a clarifying change to part 980, the vegetable import regulations, by moving the procedure for filing an exempt commodity form for tomatoes destined for noncommercial outlets for experimental purposes from § 980.212, the tomato import regulations, to § 980.501, the imported vegetable safeguard procedures section. This change removes reference to a form that does not exist for imports and makes the safeguard regulations consistent for all imported vegetables that are exempt from 8e regulations. This rule also changes § 999.600, the pistachio import regulations, by removing reference to a paper-based notification of entry process, known in the industry as the ‘‘stamp and fax’’ process. This paper-based process is being replaced by an electronic filing requirement that was developed to comply with the International Trade Data System (ITDS) and is intended to be specified within AMS’s Specialty Crops Inspection Division’s regulations (form SC–357, Initial Inspection Request for Regulated Imported Commodities). Removing this outdated information streamlines the regulations and provides E:\FR\FM\05DER1.SGM 05DER1 87410 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 233 / Monday, December 5, 2016 / Rules and Regulations sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with RULES consistency among the specialty crop import regulations. This rule also makes other minor administrative changes to §§ 944.401, 999.1, and 999.600 in the fruit and specialty crop import regulations. These changes, which include updating agency and program names and removing or updating other information that is duplicative or out of date, help ensure the import regulations contain accurate information and align with the ITDS objective of streamlining import processes for the trade. Imported Tomato Regulation Changes The import regulations in parts 944, 980, and 999 provide that individual lots of some imported commodities may be exempted from 8e requirements if those commodities are intended to be used in processing or in some other exempted outlet, such as a charitable organization or as livestock feed. To import exempt commodities into the United States, importers and receivers are required to certify to USDA and CBP as to the intended, authorized exempt use of those commodities. Certification is reported by both importers and receivers using a paper or electronic FV–6 form, Importer’s Exempt Commodity Form. On March 26, 1996, a final rule was published in the Federal Register (61 FR 13057) that changed, among other things, the safeguard section of the imported vegetable regulations (§ 980.501) by adding exemptions, subject to certain safeguard provisions, for tomatoes used for processing (canning and pickling), charity, and relief. At that time, the tomato import regulations already contained an exemption for tomatoes destined for noncommercial outlets for experimental purposes as well as an associated exemption reporting form (Certificate for Special Purpose Shipment) to be completed by the importer and the receiver of the tomatoes (§ 980.212(b)). However, the Certificate of Special Purpose form is not used to report the exempt use of these imported tomatoes; instead, an Importer’s Exempt Commodity Form (form FV–6) is completed by importers and receivers, pursuant to the long-standing safeguard procedures that are in place for imported fruits, vegetables, and specialty crops. Therefore, a clarifying change is made to move the exempt-use reporting requirements for tomatoes destined for noncommercial outlets for experimental purposes from the tomato import regulations (§ 980.212) to the safeguard section for imported vegetables (§ 980.501). Incorporating the safeguard procedures for imported VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:57 Dec 02, 2016 Jkt 241001 tomatoes into the vegetable safeguard procedures reflects current practice and standardizes the vegetable import regulations. Imported Pistachio Regulation Changes The regulations for imported pistachios provide for aflatoxin sampling procedures, based on lot size (§ 999.600(d)). These procedures currently require that an importer provide the inspection service office that will draw and prepare samples of the pistachio shipment with a copy of Customs entry documentation and other information related to the shipment; and in turn, the inspection service signs, stamps, and returns the entry documentation to the importer. This paper-based entry procedure is known in the industry as the ‘‘stamp and fax’’ process because the documentation is ‘‘stamped’’ by the inspection service and returned to the importer via ‘‘fax.’’ In support of ITDS, § 999.600(d) is revised to remove the paper-based ‘‘stamp and fax’’ process. This process is being replaced by an electronic process that importers will use to notify AMS of an initial request for inspection (form SC–357, Initial Inspection Request for Regulated Imported Commodities). The initial request is intended to alert the inspection service and CBP that a lot of pistachios will be arriving that will require inspection at the port of entry or at another location (this is identical to the purpose of the old ‘‘stamp and fax’’ process). AMS’s Specialty Crops Inspection Division intends to amend its inspection application regulations (7 CFR part 51) to provide for the electronic filing of the initial request for inspection, thereby meeting CBP’s requirement that the regulations of agencies participating in ITDS be revised to provide for electronic filing of shipment entry data. Administrative Changes To further ensure that the fruit, vegetable, and specialty crop import regulations provide accurate information to the import trade, the USDA agency and program names are being updated where needed. Also, a statement about the requirement that importers provide USDA inspectors with identifying information, including a Customs entry number, for each lot being inspected is simplified in the fruit and specialty crops import regulations in §§ 944.401(e) (olives) and 999.1(c)(1) (dates), respectively. These changes will make the olive and date import regulations consistent with the other fruit, vegetable, and specialty crop import regulations. PO 00000 Frm 00002 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 Finally, a paragraph titled ‘‘importation’’ in the date import regulations (§ 999.1(e)) is removed because it contains redundant and incomplete information about filing inspection or exemption documents with CBP. These requirements are more accurately explained elsewhere in the date regulations; specifically, § 999.1(b) provides the grade requirements that must be met by dates prior to importation, § 999.1(c) provides the inspection and certification requirements, and § 999.1(d) provides detailed exemption information and also references the safeguard section in the specialty crops import regulations (§ 999.500) that provides details on filing an electronic or paper FV–6 exemption form. These changes will ensure the import regulations contain accurate and consistent information, which should benefit the import trade. International Trade Data System (ITDS) Changing the 8e import regulations to remove the paper-based notification of entry for imported pistachios supports the International Trade Data System (ITDS), a key White House economic initiative that has been under development for over ten years and is mandated for completion by December 31, 2016 (pursuant to Executive Order 13659, Streamlining the Export/Import Process for America’s Businesses, signed by President Obama on February 19, 2014 (79 FR 10657)). Under ITDS, the import and export trade will file shipment data through an electronic ‘‘single window,’’ instead of completing multiple paper-based forms to report the same information to different government agencies. ITDS will greatly reduce the burden on America’s import and export trade while still providing information necessary for the United States to ensure compliance with its laws. By the end of 2016, the ITDS ‘‘single window’’ will be presented to the import and export trade through CBP’s Automated Commercial Environment (ACE) platform. ACE will be the primary system through which the global trade community will file information about imports and exports so that admissibility into the U.S. may be determined and government agencies may monitor compliance. Prior to the implementation of the ITDS ‘‘single window,’’ CBP is requiring that the 47 partnering government agencies that are participating in the ITDS project, including AMS, ensure that agency regulations provide for the electronic entry of import and/or export information. E:\FR\FM\05DER1.SGM 05DER1 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 233 / Monday, December 5, 2016 / Rules and Regulations sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with RULES AMS’s Marketing Order and Agreement Division (MOAD) is currently developing the functionality of a new automated system called the Compliance and Enforcement Management System (CEMS) that will interface with CBP’s ACE system in support of ITDS. CEMS will electronically link with the ACE system to create a ‘‘pipeline’’ through which data will be transmitted between MOAD and CBP. CEMS will contain several features, including an exempt imported commodities module and the ability to message CBP about whether a shipment may be released for importation into the United States. AMS has determined that the changes in this rule meet CBP’s requirements for ITDS by streamlining a notification process for imported pistachios; shifting an exempt-tomato reporting requirement to the proper safeguard section of the vegetable regulations, which was revised in 2015 to provide an electronic filing option; and by removing duplicate or revising outdated information. These changes will reduce the burden on America’s import trade without compromising AMS’s ability to ensure compliance with its import regulations. Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Pursuant to requirements set forth in the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA) (5 U.S.C. 601–612), the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) has considered the economic impact of this action on small entities. Accordingly, AMS has prepared this initial regulatory flexibility analysis. The purpose of the RFA is to fit regulatory actions to the scale of businesses subject to such actions in order that small businesses will not be unduly or disproportionately burdened. Small agricultural service firms, which includes importers and USDAaccredited laboratories who perform services required by import regulations, are defined by the Small Business Administration (SBA) as those having annual receipts of less than $7,500,000 (13 CFR 121.201). Based on 2015 reporting, USDA estimates that there were two importers and two receivers of tomatoes that were exempt from 8e requirements. Although USDA does not have access to data about the business sizes of these importers and receivers, it is likely that the majority may be classified as large entities. This action moves the requirements for reporting imported tomatoes destined for noncommercial outlets for experimental purposes, which are exempt from 8e regulations, from the tomato import regulations to the VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:57 Dec 02, 2016 Jkt 241001 safeguard section of the vegetable import regulations. This change to the regulations does not revise the procedures currently used by importers and receivers of exempt tomatoes; instead, it shifts the outdated requirements currently listed under § 980.212 to the more appropriate safeguard section in § 980.501. Most importers and receivers already file FV– 6 forms electronically using AMS’s Marketing Order Online System (MOLS), while some paper forms are still submitted. In 2015, AMS estimates it received five electronic FV–6 forms and no paper FV–6 forms for approximately 14,900 pounds of exempt tomatoes. As part of the full implementation of ITDS, importers and receivers will report exempt shipments through CBP’s ACE system and AMS’s CEMS system, which, as noted earlier, is currently under development and will eventually replace MOLS. An affirmation of interim rule as final rule was published in the Federal Register on June 25, 2015 (80 FR 36465) that provided for the electronic submission of FV–6 forms, a practice that has existed since MOLS was implemented in 2008 but was not reflected in the regulations. This action imposes no additional burden on importers and receivers of exempt tomatoes. Regarding alternatives to this action, AMS determined that these changes to the regulations were needed to comply with the ITDS mandate. Moving an outdated, paper-based exempt formfiling requirement from the import tomato regulations to the safeguard section of the vegetable import regulations standardizes the regulations and properly provides for the current requirement of filing a paper or electronic form FV–6, which will benefit importers and receivers who import these exempt tomatoes. In addition, changing the pistachio regulations by removing the paper-based ‘‘stamp and fax’’ requirement streamlines the regulations and reduces the burden on the trade. The other administrative changes made in this action will also provide the import trade with accurate information. In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. Chapter 35), the information collection requirements for the form FV–6 (for commodities exempt from 8e requirements) have been previously approved by OMB and assigned OMB No. 0581–0167 (Specific Commodities Imported into United States Exempt From Import Regulations). No changes in the requirements for the FV–6 form as a result of this action are necessary. PO 00000 Frm 00003 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 87411 The shift of the requirements for exempt-use filings from the tomato import regulations to the safeguard section for imported vegetables is administrative in nature and does not change the practice that has existed for many years. Should any changes to form FV–6 become necessary in the future, they would be submitted to OMB for approval. AMS is committed to complying 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. In addition, USDA has not identified any relevant Federal rules that duplicate, overlap or conflict with this rule. Further, importers are already familiar with the long-existing process and requirement to file FV–6 forms for commodities exempt from 8e regulations. Also, the import trade is fully aware of the ITDS initiative, which is designed to streamline and automate the filing of import shipment data. Finally, interested persons are invited to submit comments on this interim rule, including the regulatory and informational impacts of this action on small businesses. This rule invites comments on updates to reporting and notification requirements, as well as other clarifying and administrative changes, to the regulations for fruit, vegetable, and specialty crop import regulations. Any comments received will be considered prior to finalization of this rule. After consideration of all relevant material presented, it is found that this interim rule, as hereinafter set forth, will tend to effectuate the declared policy of the Act. Pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553, it is also found and determined upon good cause that it is impracticable, unnecessary, and contrary to the public interest to give preliminary notice prior to putting this rule into effect and that good cause exists for not postponing the effective date of this rule until 30 days after publication in the Federal Register because: (1) This rule clarifies and standardizes exempt commodity formfiling requirements and does not impose any new requirements, which should benefit importers and receivers; (2) this rule eliminates a paper-based notification of entry requirement that is no longer going to be used by importers of pistachios; (3) the import industry is well aware of the ITDS initiative and its goal to automate paper-based processes; (4) CBP is requiring timely update of import regulations to meet the ITDS E:\FR\FM\05DER1.SGM 05DER1 87412 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 233 / Monday, December 5, 2016 / Rules and Regulations electronic data submission requirement; and (5) this rule provides a 60-day comment period, and any comments received will be considered prior to finalization of this rule. List of Subjects 7 CFR Part 944 Avocados, Food grades and standards, Grapefruit, Grapes, Imports, Kiwifruit, Olives, Oranges. 7 CFR Part 980 Food grades and standards, Imports, Marketing agreements, Onions, Potatoes, Tomatoes. 7 CFR Part 999 Dates, Filberts, Food grades and standards, Imports, Nuts, Pistachios, Prunes, Raisins, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Walnuts. For the reasons set forth in the preamble, 7 CFR parts 944, 980, and 999 are amended as follows: ■ 1. The authority citation for 7 CFR parts 944, 980, and 999 continues to read as follows: Authority: 7 U.S.C. 601–674. PART 944—FRUITS; IMPORT REGULATIONS 2. Revise § 944.401 paragraph (e) to read as follows: Olive Regulation 1. * * * * (e) Inspection shall be performed by USDA inspectors in accordance with said regulations governing the inspection and certification of processed fruits and vegetables and related products (part 52 of this title). The cost of each such inspection and related certification shall be borne by the applicant therefore. Applicants shall provide USDA inspectors with the entry number and such other identifying information for each lot as the inspector may request. * * * * * ■ 3. Amend § 980.212 as follows: ■ a. Revise paragraph (b) introductory text; and ■ b. Remove and reserve paragraphs (b)(2) and (3). Import regulations; tomatoes. sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with RULES * * * * * (b) Grade, size, quality and maturity requirements. On and after the effective date hereof no person may import fresh tomatoes except pear shaped, cherry, hydroponic and greenhouse tomatoes as defined herein, unless they are inspected and meet the following requirements: * * * * * VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:57 Dec 02, 2016 Jkt 241001 (a) Each person who imports or receives any of the commodities listed in paragraphs (a)(1) through (5) of this section shall file (electronically or paper) an ‘‘Importer’s Exempt Commodity Form’’ (FV–6) with the Marketing Order and Agreement Division, Specialty Crops Program, AMS, USDA. * * * (4) Pearl onions; or (5) Tomatoes to be used in noncommercial outlets for experimental purposes. * * * * * PART 999—SPECIALTY CROPS; IMPORT REGULATIONS 5. Amend § 999.1 as follows: a. Revise paragraph (c)(1); b. Remove paragraph (e); and c. Redesignate paragraphs (f) through (i) as (e) through (h), respectively. ■ ■ ■ ■ * * * * (c) Inspection and certification requirements—(1) Inspection. Inspection shall be performed by USDA inspectors in accordance with the Regulations Governing the Inspection and Certification of Processed Fruits and Vegetables and Related Products (part 52 of this title). The cost of each such inspection and related certification shall be borne by the applicant. Applicants shall provide USDA inspectors with the entry number and such other identifying information for each lot as the inspector may request. * * * * * ■ 6. Amend § 999.600 as follows: ■ a. Remove paragraph (d)(1); and ■ b. Redesignate paragraphs (d)(2) and (3) as (d)(1) and (2), respectively, and revise the newly designated paragraph (d)(1). by the importer. Whenever pistachios are offered for sampling and testing, the importer shall furnish any labor and pay any costs incurred for storing, moving, and opening containers as may be necessary for proper sampling and testing. The importer shall furnish the USDA inspector with the customs entry number and such other identifying information for each lot as he or she may request. Importers may make arrangements for required sampling by contacting the Inspection Service office closest to where the pistachios will be made available for sampling. For questions regarding sampling, a list of Federal or Federal-State Inspection Program offices, or for further assistance, importers may contact: Specialty Crops Inspection Division, Specialty Crops Program, AMS, USDA, 1400 Independence Avenue SW., Room 1536–S, Washington, DC 20250; Telephone: (202) 720–5870; Fax: (202) 720–0393. * * * * * Dated: November 29, 2016. Elanor Starmer, Administrator, Agricultural Marketing Service. [FR Doc. 2016–29022 Filed 12–2–16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE P * * § 980.212 § 980.501 Safeguard procedures for potatoes, onions, and tomatoes exempt from grade, size, quality and maturity requirements. § 999.1 Regulations governing the importation of dates. ■ § 944.401 4. In § 980.501, revise the first sentence of paragraph (a) introductory text and paragraph (a)(4), and add paragraph (a)(5) to read as follows: ■ § 999.600 Regulation governing the importation of pistachios. * * * * * (d) Sampling. (1) All sampling for aflatoxin testing shall be performed by USDA-authorized inspectors in accordance with USDA rules and regulations governing the inspection and certification of fresh fruits, vegetables, and other products (7 CFR part 51). The cost of each such sampling and related certification shall be borne PO 00000 Frm 00004 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Aviation Administration 14 CFR Part 39 [Docket No. FAA–2013–0215; Directorate Identifier 2012–NM–132–AD; Amendment 39–18665; AD 2016–19–16] RIN 2120–AA64 Airworthiness Directives; The Boeing Company Airplanes Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT. ACTION: Final rule. AGENCY: We are adopting a new airworthiness directive (AD) for certain The Boeing Company Model 707–300, 707–300B, and 707–300C series airplanes; and certain Model 727C, 727– 100C, and 727–200F series airplanes. This AD was prompted by a report indicating that a cam latch on the main cargo door (MCD) broke during flight. This AD requires various inspections and related investigative and corrective actions, if necessary. We are issuing this AD to address the unsafe condition on these products. DATES: This AD is effective January 9, 2017. SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\05DER1.SGM 05DER1

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[Federal Register Volume 81, Number 233 (Monday, December 5, 2016)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 87409-87412]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2016-29022]



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

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

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

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


Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 233 / Monday, December 5, 2016 / 
Rules and Regulations

[[Page 87409]]



DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Agricultural Marketing Service

7 CFR Parts 944, 980, and 999

[Doc. No. AMS-SC-16-0083; SC16-944/980/999-1 IR]


Changes to Reporting and Notification Requirements and Other 
Clarifying Changes for Imported Fruits, Vegetables, and Specialty Crops

AGENCY: Agricultural Marketing Service, USDA.

ACTION: Interim rule with request for comments.

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

SUMMARY: This rule updates reporting and notification requirements 
associated with, and makes clarifying changes to, the fruit, vegetable, 
and specialty crop import regulations for certain commodities regulated 
under section 608(e) (hereinafter referred to as ``8e'') of the 
Agricultural Marketing Agreement Act of 1937. The updates include 
shifting the exempt reporting requirement for imported tomatoes 
destined for noncommercial outlets for experimental purposes from the 
tomato import regulations to the safeguard procedures section of the 
vegetable import regulations. In addition, the pistachio import 
regulations will be updated by removing reference to a paper-based 
notification of entry process. Other administrative changes will be 
made to several of the 8e regulations to replace outdated information. 
These changes to the import regulations support the International Trade 
Data System (ITDS), a key White House economic initiative that will 
streamline and automate the filing of import and export information by 
the trade.

DATES: Effective December 8, 2016; comments received by February 3, 
2017 will be considered prior to issuance of a final rule.

ADDRESSES: Interested persons are invited to submit written comments 
concerning this rule. Comments must be sent to the Docket Clerk, 
Marketing Order and Agreement Division, Specialty Crops Program, AMS, 
USDA, 1400 Independence Avenue SW., STOP 0237, Washington, DC 20250-
0237; Fax: (202) 720-8938; or internet: http://www.regulations.gov. All 
comments should reference the document number and the date and page 
number of this issue of the Federal Register and will be made available 
for public inspection in the Office of the Docket Clerk during regular 
business hours or can be viewed at: http://www.regulations.gov. All 
comments submitted in response to this rule will be included in the 
record and will be made available to the public. Please be advised that 
the identity of the individuals or entities submitting the comments 
will be made public on the internet at the address provided above.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Shannon Ramirez, Compliance and 
Enforcement Specialist, or Vincent Fusaro, Compliance and Enforcement 
Branch Chief, Specialty Crops Program, AMS, USDA; Telephone: (202) 720-
2491, Fax: (202) 720-8938, or Email: Shannon.Ramirez@ams.usda.gov or 
VincentJ.Fusaro@ams.usda.gov.
    Small businesses may request information on complying with this 
regulation by contacting Richard Lower, Marketing Order and Agreement 
Division, Specialty Crops Program, AMS, USDA, 1400 Independence Avenue 
SW., STOP 0237, Washington, DC 20250-0237; Telephone: (202) 720-2491, 
Fax: (202) 720-8938, or Email: Richard.Lower@ams.usda.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: This rule is issued under section 8e of the 
Agricultural Marketing Agreement Act of 1937, as amended (7 U.S.C. 601-
674), hereinafter referred to as the ``Act.'' Section 8e provides that 
whenever certain commodities are regulated under Federal marketing 
orders, imports of those commodities into the United States are 
prohibited unless they meet the same or comparable grade, size, 
quality, and/or maturity requirements as those in effect for the 
domestically produced commodities. The Act also authorizes The 
Department of Agriculture (USDA) to perform inspections and other 
related functions (such as commodity sampling) on those imported 
commodities and to certify whether these requirements have been met.
    Parts 944, 980, and 999 of title 7 of the Code of Federal 
Regulations (CFR) specify inspection, certification, and reporting 
requirements for imported commodities regulated under 8e. Additionally, 
these parts specify the imported commodities that may be exempt from 
grade, size, quality, and/or maturity requirements when imported for 
specific purposes (such as processing, donation to charitable 
organizations, or livestock feed) as well as the form importers must 
use to report to USDA and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) 
imports of commodities exempt from 8e regulations.
    USDA is issuing this rule in conformance with Executive Orders 
12866, 13563, and 13175.
    This rule has been reviewed under Executive Order 12988, Civil 
Justice Reform. This rule is not intended to have retroactive effect. 
There are no administrative procedures that must be exhausted prior to 
any judicial challenge to the provisions of import regulations issued 
under section 8e of the Act.
    This rule makes a clarifying change to part 980, the vegetable 
import regulations, by moving the procedure for filing an exempt 
commodity form for tomatoes destined for noncommercial outlets for 
experimental purposes from Sec.  980.212, the tomato import 
regulations, to Sec.  980.501, the imported vegetable safeguard 
procedures section. This change removes reference to a form that does 
not exist for imports and makes the safeguard regulations consistent 
for all imported vegetables that are exempt from 8e regulations.
    This rule also changes Sec.  999.600, the pistachio import 
regulations, by removing reference to a paper-based notification of 
entry process, known in the industry as the ``stamp and fax'' process. 
This paper-based process is being replaced by an electronic filing 
requirement that was developed to comply with the International Trade 
Data System (ITDS) and is intended to be specified within AMS's 
Specialty Crops Inspection Division's regulations (form SC-357, Initial 
Inspection Request for Regulated Imported Commodities). Removing this 
outdated information streamlines the regulations and provides

[[Page 87410]]

consistency among the specialty crop import regulations.
    This rule also makes other minor administrative changes to 
Sec. Sec.  944.401, 999.1, and 999.600 in the fruit and specialty crop 
import regulations. These changes, which include updating agency and 
program names and removing or updating other information that is 
duplicative or out of date, help ensure the import regulations contain 
accurate information and align with the ITDS objective of streamlining 
import processes for the trade.

Imported Tomato Regulation Changes

    The import regulations in parts 944, 980, and 999 provide that 
individual lots of some imported commodities may be exempted from 8e 
requirements if those commodities are intended to be used in processing 
or in some other exempted outlet, such as a charitable organization or 
as livestock feed. To import exempt commodities into the United States, 
importers and receivers are required to certify to USDA and CBP as to 
the intended, authorized exempt use of those commodities. Certification 
is reported by both importers and receivers using a paper or electronic 
FV-6 form, Importer's Exempt Commodity Form.
    On March 26, 1996, a final rule was published in the Federal 
Register (61 FR 13057) that changed, among other things, the safeguard 
section of the imported vegetable regulations (Sec.  980.501) by adding 
exemptions, subject to certain safeguard provisions, for tomatoes used 
for processing (canning and pickling), charity, and relief. At that 
time, the tomato import regulations already contained an exemption for 
tomatoes destined for noncommercial outlets for experimental purposes 
as well as an associated exemption reporting form (Certificate for 
Special Purpose Shipment) to be completed by the importer and the 
receiver of the tomatoes (Sec.  980.212(b)). However, the Certificate 
of Special Purpose form is not used to report the exempt use of these 
imported tomatoes; instead, an Importer's Exempt Commodity Form (form 
FV-6) is completed by importers and receivers, pursuant to the long-
standing safeguard procedures that are in place for imported fruits, 
vegetables, and specialty crops. Therefore, a clarifying change is made 
to move the exempt-use reporting requirements for tomatoes destined for 
noncommercial outlets for experimental purposes from the tomato import 
regulations (Sec.  980.212) to the safeguard section for imported 
vegetables (Sec.  980.501). Incorporating the safeguard procedures for 
imported tomatoes into the vegetable safeguard procedures reflects 
current practice and standardizes the vegetable import regulations.

Imported Pistachio Regulation Changes

    The regulations for imported pistachios provide for aflatoxin 
sampling procedures, based on lot size (Sec.  999.600(d)). These 
procedures currently require that an importer provide the inspection 
service office that will draw and prepare samples of the pistachio 
shipment with a copy of Customs entry documentation and other 
information related to the shipment; and in turn, the inspection 
service signs, stamps, and returns the entry documentation to the 
importer. This paper-based entry procedure is known in the industry as 
the ``stamp and fax'' process because the documentation is ``stamped'' 
by the inspection service and returned to the importer via ``fax.''
    In support of ITDS, Sec.  999.600(d) is revised to remove the 
paper-based ``stamp and fax'' process. This process is being replaced 
by an electronic process that importers will use to notify AMS of an 
initial request for inspection (form SC-357, Initial Inspection Request 
for Regulated Imported Commodities). The initial request is intended to 
alert the inspection service and CBP that a lot of pistachios will be 
arriving that will require inspection at the port of entry or at 
another location (this is identical to the purpose of the old ``stamp 
and fax'' process). AMS's Specialty Crops Inspection Division intends 
to amend its inspection application regulations (7 CFR part 51) to 
provide for the electronic filing of the initial request for 
inspection, thereby meeting CBP's requirement that the regulations of 
agencies participating in ITDS be revised to provide for electronic 
filing of shipment entry data.

Administrative Changes

    To further ensure that the fruit, vegetable, and specialty crop 
import regulations provide accurate information to the import trade, 
the USDA agency and program names are being updated where needed.
    Also, a statement about the requirement that importers provide USDA 
inspectors with identifying information, including a Customs entry 
number, for each lot being inspected is simplified in the fruit and 
specialty crops import regulations in Sec. Sec.  944.401(e) (olives) 
and 999.1(c)(1) (dates), respectively. These changes will make the 
olive and date import regulations consistent with the other fruit, 
vegetable, and specialty crop import regulations.
    Finally, a paragraph titled ``importation'' in the date import 
regulations (Sec.  999.1(e)) is removed because it contains redundant 
and incomplete information about filing inspection or exemption 
documents with CBP. These requirements are more accurately explained 
elsewhere in the date regulations; specifically, Sec.  999.1(b) 
provides the grade requirements that must be met by dates prior to 
importation, Sec.  999.1(c) provides the inspection and certification 
requirements, and Sec.  999.1(d) provides detailed exemption 
information and also references the safeguard section in the specialty 
crops import regulations (Sec.  999.500) that provides details on 
filing an electronic or paper FV-6 exemption form.
    These changes will ensure the import regulations contain accurate 
and consistent information, which should benefit the import trade.

International Trade Data System (ITDS)

    Changing the 8e import regulations to remove the paper-based 
notification of entry for imported pistachios supports the 
International Trade Data System (ITDS), a key White House economic 
initiative that has been under development for over ten years and is 
mandated for completion by December 31, 2016 (pursuant to Executive 
Order 13659, Streamlining the Export/Import Process for America's 
Businesses, signed by President Obama on February 19, 2014 (79 FR 
10657)). Under ITDS, the import and export trade will file shipment 
data through an electronic ``single window,'' instead of completing 
multiple paper-based forms to report the same information to different 
government agencies. ITDS will greatly reduce the burden on America's 
import and export trade while still providing information necessary for 
the United States to ensure compliance with its laws.
    By the end of 2016, the ITDS ``single window'' will be presented to 
the import and export trade through CBP's Automated Commercial 
Environment (ACE) platform. ACE will be the primary system through 
which the global trade community will file information about imports 
and exports so that admissibility into the U.S. may be determined and 
government agencies may monitor compliance.
    Prior to the implementation of the ITDS ``single window,'' CBP is 
requiring that the 47 partnering government agencies that are 
participating in the ITDS project, including AMS, ensure that agency 
regulations provide for the electronic entry of import and/or export 
information.

[[Page 87411]]

    AMS's Marketing Order and Agreement Division (MOAD) is currently 
developing the functionality of a new automated system called the 
Compliance and Enforcement Management System (CEMS) that will interface 
with CBP's ACE system in support of ITDS. CEMS will electronically link 
with the ACE system to create a ``pipeline'' through which data will be 
transmitted between MOAD and CBP. CEMS will contain several features, 
including an exempt imported commodities module and the ability to 
message CBP about whether a shipment may be released for importation 
into the United States.
    AMS has determined that the changes in this rule meet CBP's 
requirements for ITDS by streamlining a notification process for 
imported pistachios; shifting an exempt-tomato reporting requirement to 
the proper safeguard section of the vegetable regulations, which was 
revised in 2015 to provide an electronic filing option; and by removing 
duplicate or revising outdated information. These changes will reduce 
the burden on America's import trade without compromising AMS's ability 
to ensure compliance with its import regulations.

Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis

    Pursuant to requirements set forth in the Regulatory Flexibility 
Act (RFA) (5 U.S.C. 601-612), the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) 
has considered the economic impact of this action on small entities. 
Accordingly, AMS has prepared this initial regulatory flexibility 
analysis.
    The purpose of the RFA is to fit regulatory actions to the scale of 
businesses subject to such actions in order that small businesses will 
not be unduly or disproportionately burdened.
    Small agricultural service firms, which includes importers and 
USDA-accredited laboratories who perform services required by import 
regulations, are defined by the Small Business Administration (SBA) as 
those having annual receipts of less than $7,500,000 (13 CFR 121.201).
    Based on 2015 reporting, USDA estimates that there were two 
importers and two receivers of tomatoes that were exempt from 8e 
requirements. Although USDA does not have access to data about the 
business sizes of these importers and receivers, it is likely that the 
majority may be classified as large entities.
    This action moves the requirements for reporting imported tomatoes 
destined for noncommercial outlets for experimental purposes, which are 
exempt from 8e regulations, from the tomato import regulations to the 
safeguard section of the vegetable import regulations. This change to 
the regulations does not revise the procedures currently used by 
importers and receivers of exempt tomatoes; instead, it shifts the 
outdated requirements currently listed under Sec.  980.212 to the more 
appropriate safeguard section in Sec.  980.501. Most importers and 
receivers already file FV-6 forms electronically using AMS's Marketing 
Order Online System (MOLS), while some paper forms are still submitted. 
In 2015, AMS estimates it received five electronic FV-6 forms and no 
paper FV-6 forms for approximately 14,900 pounds of exempt tomatoes.
    As part of the full implementation of ITDS, importers and receivers 
will report exempt shipments through CBP's ACE system and AMS's CEMS 
system, which, as noted earlier, is currently under development and 
will eventually replace MOLS. An affirmation of interim rule as final 
rule was published in the Federal Register on June 25, 2015 (80 FR 
36465) that provided for the electronic submission of FV-6 forms, a 
practice that has existed since MOLS was implemented in 2008 but was 
not reflected in the regulations. This action imposes no additional 
burden on importers and receivers of exempt tomatoes.
    Regarding alternatives to this action, AMS determined that these 
changes to the regulations were needed to comply with the ITDS mandate. 
Moving an outdated, paper-based exempt form-filing requirement from the 
import tomato regulations to the safeguard section of the vegetable 
import regulations standardizes the regulations and properly provides 
for the current requirement of filing a paper or electronic form FV-6, 
which will benefit importers and receivers who import these exempt 
tomatoes. In addition, changing the pistachio regulations by removing 
the paper-based ``stamp and fax'' requirement streamlines the 
regulations and reduces the burden on the trade. The other 
administrative changes made in this action will also provide the import 
trade with accurate information.
    In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 
Chapter 35), the information collection requirements for the form FV-6 
(for commodities exempt from 8e requirements) have been previously 
approved by OMB and assigned OMB No. 0581-0167 (Specific Commodities 
Imported into United States Exempt From Import Regulations). No changes 
in the requirements for the FV-6 form as a result of this action are 
necessary. The shift of the requirements for exempt-use filings from 
the tomato import regulations to the safeguard section for imported 
vegetables is administrative in nature and does not change the practice 
that has existed for many years. Should any changes to form FV-6 become 
necessary in the future, they would be submitted to OMB for approval.
    AMS is committed to complying 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.
    In addition, USDA has not identified any relevant Federal rules 
that duplicate, overlap or conflict with this rule.
    Further, importers are already familiar with the long-existing 
process and requirement to file FV-6 forms for commodities exempt from 
8e regulations. Also, the import trade is fully aware of the ITDS 
initiative, which is designed to streamline and automate the filing of 
import shipment data.
    Finally, interested persons are invited to submit comments on this 
interim rule, including the regulatory and informational impacts of 
this action on small businesses.
    This rule invites comments on updates to reporting and notification 
requirements, as well as other clarifying and administrative changes, 
to the regulations for fruit, vegetable, and specialty crop import 
regulations. Any comments received will be considered prior to 
finalization of this rule.
    After consideration of all relevant material presented, it is found 
that this interim rule, as hereinafter set forth, will tend to 
effectuate the declared policy of the Act.
    Pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553, it is also found and determined upon good 
cause that it is impracticable, unnecessary, and contrary to the public 
interest to give preliminary notice prior to putting this rule into 
effect and that good cause exists for not postponing the effective date 
of this rule until 30 days after publication in the Federal Register 
because: (1) This rule clarifies and standardizes exempt commodity 
form-filing requirements and does not impose any new requirements, 
which should benefit importers and receivers; (2) this rule eliminates 
a paper-based notification of entry requirement that is no longer going 
to be used by importers of pistachios; (3) the import industry is well 
aware of the ITDS initiative and its goal to automate paper-based 
processes; (4) CBP is requiring timely update of import regulations to 
meet the ITDS

[[Page 87412]]

electronic data submission requirement; and (5) this rule provides a 
60-day comment period, and any comments received will be considered 
prior to finalization of this rule.

List of Subjects

7 CFR Part 944

    Avocados, Food grades and standards, Grapefruit, Grapes, Imports, 
Kiwifruit, Olives, Oranges.

7 CFR Part 980

    Food grades and standards, Imports, Marketing agreements, Onions, 
Potatoes, Tomatoes.

7 CFR Part 999

    Dates, Filberts, Food grades and standards, Imports, Nuts, 
Pistachios, Prunes, Raisins, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, 
Walnuts.

    For the reasons set forth in the preamble, 7 CFR parts 944, 980, 
and 999 are amended as follows:

0
1. The authority citation for 7 CFR parts 944, 980, and 999 continues 
to read as follows:

    Authority:  7 U.S.C. 601-674.

PART 944--FRUITS; IMPORT REGULATIONS

0
2. Revise Sec.  944.401 paragraph (e) to read as follows:


Sec.  944.401   Olive Regulation 1.

* * * * *
    (e) Inspection shall be performed by USDA inspectors in accordance 
with said regulations governing the inspection and certification of 
processed fruits and vegetables and related products (part 52 of this 
title). The cost of each such inspection and related certification 
shall be borne by the applicant therefore. Applicants shall provide 
USDA inspectors with the entry number and such other identifying 
information for each lot as the inspector may request.
* * * * *

0
3. Amend Sec.  980.212 as follows:
0
a. Revise paragraph (b) introductory text; and
0
b. Remove and reserve paragraphs (b)(2) and (3).


Sec.  980.212   Import regulations; tomatoes.

* * * * *
    (b) Grade, size, quality and maturity requirements. On and after 
the effective date hereof no person may import fresh tomatoes except 
pear shaped, cherry, hydroponic and greenhouse tomatoes as defined 
herein, unless they are inspected and meet the following requirements:
* * * * *

0
4. In Sec.  980.501, revise the first sentence of paragraph (a) 
introductory text and paragraph (a)(4), and add paragraph (a)(5) to 
read as follows:


Sec.  980.501   Safeguard procedures for potatoes, onions, and tomatoes 
exempt from grade, size, quality and maturity requirements.

    (a) Each person who imports or receives any of the commodities 
listed in paragraphs (a)(1) through (5) of this section shall file 
(electronically or paper) an ``Importer's Exempt Commodity Form'' (FV-
6) with the Marketing Order and Agreement Division, Specialty Crops 
Program, AMS, USDA. * * *
    (4) Pearl onions; or
    (5) Tomatoes to be used in noncommercial outlets for experimental 
purposes.
* * * * *

PART 999--SPECIALTY CROPS; IMPORT REGULATIONS

0
5. Amend Sec.  999.1 as follows:
0
a. Revise paragraph (c)(1);
0
b. Remove paragraph (e); and
0
c. Redesignate paragraphs (f) through (i) as (e) through (h), 
respectively.


Sec.  999.1   Regulations governing the importation of dates.

* * * * *
    (c) Inspection and certification requirements--(1) Inspection. 
Inspection shall be performed by USDA inspectors in accordance with the 
Regulations Governing the Inspection and Certification of Processed 
Fruits and Vegetables and Related Products (part 52 of this title). The 
cost of each such inspection and related certification shall be borne 
by the applicant. Applicants shall provide USDA inspectors with the 
entry number and such other identifying information for each lot as the 
inspector may request.
* * * * *

0
6. Amend Sec.  999.600 as follows:
0
a. Remove paragraph (d)(1); and
0
b. Redesignate paragraphs (d)(2) and (3) as (d)(1) and (2), 
respectively, and revise the newly designated paragraph (d)(1).


Sec.  999.600   Regulation governing the importation of pistachios.

* * * * *
    (d) Sampling. (1) All sampling for aflatoxin testing shall be 
performed by USDA-authorized inspectors in accordance with USDA rules 
and regulations governing the inspection and certification of fresh 
fruits, vegetables, and other products (7 CFR part 51). The cost of 
each such sampling and related certification shall be borne by the 
importer. Whenever pistachios are offered for sampling and testing, the 
importer shall furnish any labor and pay any costs incurred for 
storing, moving, and opening containers as may be necessary for proper 
sampling and testing. The importer shall furnish the USDA inspector 
with the customs entry number and such other identifying information 
for each lot as he or she may request. Importers may make arrangements 
for required sampling by contacting the Inspection Service office 
closest to where the pistachios will be made available for sampling. 
For questions regarding sampling, a list of Federal or Federal-State 
Inspection Program offices, or for further assistance, importers may 
contact: Specialty Crops Inspection Division, Specialty Crops Program, 
AMS, USDA, 1400 Independence Avenue SW., Room 1536-S, Washington, DC 
20250; Telephone: (202) 720-5870; Fax: (202) 720-0393.
* * * * *

    Dated: November 29, 2016.
Elanor Starmer,
Administrator, Agricultural Marketing Service.
[FR Doc. 2016-29022 Filed 12-2-16; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE P