The Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service has extended through April 24 the period for public comment on a proposed rule that would change the reporting of export certificate information under regulations issued pursuant to the Export Apple Act and the Export Grape and Plum Act. AMS states that these changes would support the International Trade Data System as well as enable the agency to track apple and grape exports to ensure they meet inspection and certification requirements.

The proposed changes include the following.

- requiring shippers of apples and grapes exported from the U.S. to electronically enter into the Automated Export System the export form certificate number or (for apples shipped to Canada in bulk containers) a USDA-defined exemption code

- defining “shipper” as a person who ships apples or any variety of vinifera species table grapes, or offers them for shipment, to any foreign destination

- requiring shippers (rather than carriers) to maintain paper or electronic copies of the export form certificate and provide copies to AMS upon request

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