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USDA Reviewing Info Collections on Lacey Act Declaration, Tomato Imports

Monday, December 24, 2018
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

The Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service is accepting comments by Feb. 25 on the proposed revision and extension for a three-year period of the following information collections.

Lacey Act Declaration. The Lacey Act, as amended, makes it unlawful to import, export, transport, sell, receive, acquire, or purchase in interstate or foreign commerce any plant, with some limited exceptions, taken, possessed, transported, or sold in violation of the laws of the U.S., a state, an Indian tribe, or any foreign law that protects plants. The Act also makes it unlawful to make or submit any false record, account, or label for, or any false identification of, any plant covered by the Act.

In addition, section 3 of the Act makes it unlawful to import certain plants and plant products without an import declaration. The declaration must contain, among other things, the scientific name of the plant, value of the importation, quantity of the plant, and name of the country in which the plant was harvested. For paper and paperboard products with recycled plant content, the importer is not required to specify the species or country of harvest with respect to the recycled plant product component but is required to provide the average percentage of recycled content. If the product also contains non-recycled plant materials, the basic declaration requirements still apply to that component of the product imported.

Tomatoes. Tomatoes from Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama may be imported into the U.S. under certain conditions to prevent the introduction of plant pests. These conditions require the use of certain information collection activities including development and monitoring of an insect trapping and quality control plan; registration and recertification of production sites; production site and insect trap inspections and recordkeeping; export certifications; box labelling; notices of arrival to ports; responses to emergency action notifications; and permit applications.

Also, each consignment of tomatoes must be accompanied by a phytosanitary certificate issued by the country’s national plant protection organization. Depending on the Mediterranean fly status of the region of origin, the certificate must contain an additional declaration stating that the tomatoes were either grown in an approved production site and the consignment has been inspected and found free of the pests listed in the requirements or grown in an area recognized to be free of Medfly and the consignment has been inspected and found free of the pests listed in the requirements. These information collection activities allow the importation of tomatoes from these countries while continuing to protect the U.S. against the introduction of plant pests.

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