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USDA Looks to Correct Oversight on Exclusions from Plant Import Declaration Requirement

Wednesday, October 15, 2014
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

The Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service is accepting through Dec. 15 comments on a new information collection required by the Lacey Act concerning definitions for exempt and regulated articles.

The Lacey Act  makes it unlawful to import certain plants and plant products without an import declaration, which must include 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. There is a supplemental form that must be completed if additional space is needed to declare additional plants and plant products, and records of the import declaration and supplemental form must be retained for at least five years. These collection activities have been approved under Office of Management and Budget control number 0579-0349.

In a July 2013 interim final rule, APHIS advised the public that inquiries about specific taxa or commodities and requests to add taxa or commodities to the list of common cultivars and common food crops, which are among the categorical exclusions to the provisions of the Lacey Act, should be sent in writing to APHIS and include information as to the scientific name of the plant (genus, species), common or trade names, annual trade volume (e.g., cubic meters) or weight (e.g., metric tons/kilograms) of the commodity, and any other information that would help APHIS make a determination, such as countries or regions where grown, estimated number of acres or hectares in commercial production, etc. However, at that time APHIS inadvertently did not obtain OMB approval and did not add this information to OMB control number 0579-0349. APHIS is therefore asking OMB to approve this information collection for three years and to assign a separate OMB control number, with the intent of eventually combining the two.

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