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Grain Export Inspection Regulations and Fees Would be Revised Under USDA Proposal

Monday, January 25, 2016
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

The Department of Agriculture’s Grain Inspection Packers and Stockyards Administration is accepting comments through Feb. 24 on a proposed rule that would revise existing regulations and add new regulations under the United States Grain Standards Act to comply with amendments made by the Agriculture Reauthorizations Act of 2015.

Under the USGSA, all grain exported from the U.S. must be officially inspected and weighed. GIPSA provides mandatory inspection and weighing services at 45 export facilities in the U.S. and seven facilities for U.S. grain transshipped through Canadian ports. Five delegated state agencies provide mandatory inspection and weighing services at 13 facilities. The USGSA also  requires the registration of all persons engaged in the business of buying grain for sale in foreign commerce as well as those persons who handle, weigh or transport grain for sale in foreign commerce.

Among other things, this rule would:

- remove the requirement to officially weigh inbound barge shipments at export port locations;

- require GIPSA to approve all requests for waivers of official inspection and weighing requirements for export grain in emergencies and other circumstances that would not impair the objectives of the USGSA, thus allowing grain shipments to continue if the official system is not able to fully perform all its duties;

- base the portion of fees for inspection and weighing services that is assessed on tonnage on the five-year rolling average of export tonnage volume;

- adjust all of GIPSA’s fees for the performance, supervision and administration of official inspection and weighing services annually to maintain a three- to six-month operating reserve; and

- terminate inspection licenses every five years instead of every three years (without changing current termination dates).

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