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APHIS Delays Fees for Canadian Produce

USDA moves date for collection of user fees truck and railroad inspections entering from Canada from March 1 to June 1.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service is delaying the effective date for the collection of user fees from March 1, 2007, to June 1, 2007, for inspections of commercial trucks and railroad cars entering the United States from Canada.

An interim rule published in 2006 announced that APHIS would remove the inspection exemption for Canadian-grown fruits and vegetables and user fee exemption for commercial vessels, trucks, railroad cars and aircraft, as well as international passengers entering the United States from Canada.

The removal of the inspection exemption will take effect March 1, but the provisions removing the exemption for commercial trucks and commercial railroad cars entering the United States from Canada will not begin until June 1.

APHIS said the delay will allow U.S. officials the additional time needed to further evaluate several Canadian proposals intended to mitigate pest risk and potentially lower the cost of land-border inspections. Notice of this action is scheduled for publication in the Feb. 26 Federal Register.

"I'm glad that the Department of Agriculture is starting to see the need to rethink this initiative," says Rep. Louise M. Slaughter, D.-N.Y., chairwoman of the House Rules Committee. "I've opposed the blanket imposition of new fees and new inspections on all trucks entering the U.S. from Canada since it was proposed last fall. It is a heavy-handed response to a narrow problem. I encourage USDA to allow a joint U.S.-Canada working group to develop workable solutions rather than moving forward with this flawed idea."

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