Import Regulations. The Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service has issued an interim rule updating the reporting and notification requirements associated with the fruit, vegetable, and specialty crop import regulations for certain regulated commodities. AMS states that these changes support the International Trade Data System, which will streamline and automate the filing of import and export information by the trade community. Comments on this rule are due by Feb. 3.

The changes made by this rule include the following.

- shifting the procedure for filing an exempt commodity form for tomatoes destined for noncommercial outlets for experimental purposes from the tomato import regulations to the safeguard procedures section of the vegetable import regulations

- updating the pistachio import regulations by removing reference to a paper-based notification of entry process (known as the “stamp and fax” process), which is being replaced by an electronic filing requirement developed to comply with the ITDS

- simplifying a statement in the olive and date import regulations about the requirement for importers to provide USDA inspectors with identifying information, including a customs entry number, for each lot being inspected

- removing from the date import regulations a paragraph entitled “importation” because it contains redundant and incomplete information about filing inspection or exemption documents with U.S. Customs and Border Protection

Export Regulations. AMS is proposing to 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 ITDS as well as enable the agency to track apple and grape exports to ensure they meet inspection and certification requirements. Comments on this proposed rule are due no later than Jan. 4.

The proposed changes include the following.

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

- 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

New Automated System. AMS notes that its Marketing Order and Agreement Division is currently developing the functionality of a new automated system called the Compliance and Enforcement Management System that will interface with the Automated Commercial Environment in support of ITDS. 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 U.S.

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