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Proposed Rule

Change in Disease Status of Japan With Regard to Foot-and-Mouth Disease

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AGENCY:

Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, USDA.

ACTION:

Proposed rule.

SUMMARY:

We are proposing to amend the regulations to add Japan to the list of regions that are considered free of rinderpest and foot-and-mouth disease. We are taking this action because we have determined that Japan is now free of foot-and-mouth disease. We are also proposing to add Japan to the list of regions that are subject to certain restrictions because of their proximity to or trading relationships with rinderpest- or foot-and-mouth disease-affected countries. These actions would update the disease status of Japan with regard to foot-and-mouth disease while continuing to protect the United States from an introduction of rinderpest and foot-and-mouth disease by providing additional requirements for any meat and meat products imported into the United States from Japan.

DATES:

We invite you to comment on this docket. We will consider all comments that we receive by November 5, 2001.

ADDRESSES:

Please send four copies of your comment (an original and three copies) to: Docket No. 01-010-1, Regulatory Analysis and Development, PPD, APHIS, Suite 3C03, 4700 River Road Unit 118, Riverdale, MD 20737-1238.

Please state that your comment refers to Docket No. 01-010-1.

You may read any comments that we receive on this docket in our reading room. The reading room is located in room 1141 of the USDA South Building, 14th Street and Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC. Normal reading room hours are 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, except holidays. To be sure someone is there to help you, please call (202) 690-2817 before coming.

APHIS documents published in the Federal Register, and related information, including the names of organizations and individuals who have commented on APHIS dockets, are available on the Internet at http://www.aphis.usda.gov/​ppd/​rad/​webrepor.html.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Dr. Gary Colgrove, Chief Staff Veterinarian, National Center for Import and Export, VS, APHIS, 4700 River Road Unit 38, Riverdale, MD 20737-1231; (301) 734-3276.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

The regulations in 9 CFR part 94 (referred to below as the regulations) govern the importation of certain animals and animal products into the United States in order to prevent the introduction of various diseases, including rinderpest, foot- and-mouth disease (FMD), African swine fever, hog cholera, and swine vesicular disease. These are dangerous and destructive communicable diseases of ruminants and swine. Section 94.1 of the regulations lists regions of the world that are declared free of rinderpest or free of both rinderpest and FMD. Rinderpest or FMD exists in all other parts of the world not listed. Section 94.11 of the regulations lists regions of the world that have been determined to be free of rinderpest and FMD, but that are subject to certain restrictions because of their proximity to or trading relationships with rinderpest- or FMD-affected regions.

On March 8, 2000, a suspected outbreak of FMD was detected in Japan, and on March 27, 2000, Japan's Ministry of Agriculture notified us with confirmation of the FMD diagnosis. In an interim rule effective on March 8, 2000, and affirmed on July 14, 2000, we amended the regulations in § 94.1(a)(2) by removing Japan from the list of regions that have been declared free of rinderpest and FMD. (Although Japan continues to be free of rinderpest, § 94.1(a)(2) lists regions that are declared free of both rinderpest and FMD.) Additionally, in that interim rule, we removed Japan from the list in § 94.11 of countries that are declared to be free of these diseases, but that are still subject to certain restrictions because of their proximity to or trading relationships with rinderpest- or FMD-affected regions. As a result of that action, the importation into the United States of any ruminant or swine or any fresh (chilled or frozen) meat of any ruminant or swine that left Japan on or after March 8, 2000, was prohibited or restricted.

Prior to the March 2000 outbreak of FMD, Japan had not had a case of FMD since the early 1900's. In response to the March 2000 outbreak of FMD, Japan undertook intensive efforts to eradicate the disease. Japan's last FMD-affected premises was depopulated on May 15, 2000. According to international disease standards set by the Office International des Epizooties, when FMD occurs in a country that was previously free of the disease, that country can regain its FMD-free status 3 months after the last case.

Therefore, because at least 3 months have elapsed since Japan's last FMD case, we have determined that Japan meets our requirements for being recognized as free of FMD. To update Japan's disease status regarding FMD, we are proposing to add Japan to the list in § 94.1(a)(2) of regions that are considered free of rinderpest and FMD.

This proposed action would relieve certain restrictions due to FMD and rinderpest on the importation into the United States of certain live animals and animal products from Japan. However, because Japan has certain trade practices regarding animals and animal products that are less restrictive than are acceptable for importation into the United States, the importation of meat and other products from ruminants and swine into the United States from Japan would continue to be subject to certain restrictions.

Specifically, we are proposing to add Japan to the list in § 94.11(a) of regions declared free of rinderpest and FMD but that are subject to special restrictions on the importation of their meat and other animal products into the United States. The regions listed in § 94.11(a) are subject to these special restrictions because they: (1) Supplement their national meat supply by importing fresh (chilled or frozen) meat of ruminants or Start Printed Page 46229swine from regions that are designated in § 94.1(a) as regions where rinderpest or FMD exists, (2) have a common land border with regions where rinderpest or FMD exists, or (3) import ruminants or swine from regions where rinderpest or FMD exists under conditions less restrictive than would be acceptable for importation into the United States.

Japan imports live ruminants and swine from regions not recognized as free of rinderpest or FMD under conditions less restrictive than would be acceptable for importation into the United States. As a result, there is some risk that the meat and other animal products produced by Japan could be commingled with the fresh (chilled or frozen) meat of animals from a region in which rinderpest and FMD exist and present an undue risk of introducing rinderpest or FMD into the United States if imported without restriction.

Under § 94.11, meat and other animal products of ruminants and swine, including ship stores, airplane meals, and baggage containing these meat or animal products, may not be imported into the United States except in accordance with § 94.11 and the applicable requirements of the USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service at 9 CFR chapter III.

Section 94.11 generally requires that the meat and other animal products of ruminants and swine be: (1) Prepared in an inspected establishment that is eligible to have its products imported into the United States under the Federal Meat Inspection Act; and (2) accompanied by an additional certificate, issued by a full-time salaried veterinary official of the national government of the exporting region, assuring that the meat or other animal products have not been commingled with or exposed to meat or other animal products originating in, imported from, transported through, or that have otherwise been in a region where rinderpest or FMD exists.

Executive Order 12866 and Regulatory Flexibility Act

This proposed rule has been reviewed under Executive Order 12866. For this action, the Office of Management and Budget has waived its review process required by Executive Order 12866.

We are proposing to amend the regulations to add Japan to the list of regions that are considered free of rinderpest and FMD. We are taking this action because we have determined that Japan is now free of FMD. We are also proposing to add Japan to the list of regions that are subject to certain restrictions because of their proximity to or trading relationships with rinderpest- or FMD-affected countries. These actions would update the disease status of Japan with regard to FMD while continuing to protect the United States from an introduction of rinderpest and FMD by providing additional requirements for any meat and meat products imported into the United States from Japan.

The following analysis addresses the economic effect of this proposed rule on small entities, as required by the Regulatory Flexibility Act.

The livestock industry plays a significant role in the U.S. economy. According to the National Agricultural Statistics Service, in 2000, the total number of cattle and calves in the United States was approximately 98.05 million, valued at approximately $67.01 billion. U.S. operations with cattle numbered 1,115,650 in 1997, the last year for which census data are available. More than 99 percent of these cattle operations had gross receipts of less than $750,000, which qualifies them as small entities according to the standards set by the Small Business Administration.

The U.S. livestock industry also plays an important role in international trade. U.S. competitiveness in international markets relies significantly upon this country's reputation for producing high-quality, disease-free animals and animal products. Maintaining these favorable trade conditions depends, in part, on continued aggressive efforts to prevent any threat of FMD introduction into the United States. A single outbreak of FMD anywhere in the United States would close our major export markets for livestock and livestock products overnight. Most exports of meat, animals, and animal byproducts would be stopped until the disease was completely eradicated.

In 1999, the total earnings from U.S. exports of live cattle, swine, beef and veal, pork, and dairy products to the rest of the world were approximately $4.80 billion. Additionally, the export of other animals and animal products and byproducts generated approximately $5.64 billion in sales for the United States. Consequently, an outbreak of FMD could result in the potential loss of export sales in the billions of dollars as well as other costs to those involved in the U.S. livestock industry.

Because we would declare Japan to be free of FMD but subject to the restrictions of § 94.11 due to its trading relationships with rinderpest- or FMD-affected regions, this proposed rule would produce economic benefits by continuing to protect against the introduction of rinderpest and FMD into the United States. Import values of dairy products, red meat, and red meat products represented less than 0.01 percent of the overall value of U.S. imports from Japan in 1999. Since Japan is not a significant source, and is not expected to become a significant source, of these products for the U.S. market, this proposed rule, if adopted, would not have a noticeable effect on producer, wholesale, or consumer prices in the United States. Therefore, we expect that there would be very little or no effect on U.S. entities, large or small, as a result of this proposed rule.

Under these circumstances, the Administrator of the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has determined that this action would not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities.

Executive Order 12988

This proposed rule has been reviewed under Executive Order 12988, Civil Justice Reform. If this proposed rule is adopted: (1) All State and local laws and regulations that are inconsistent with this rule will be preempted; (2) no retroactive effect will be given to this rule; and (3) administrative proceedings will not be required before parties may file suit in court challenging this rule.

Paperwork Reduction Act

This proposed rule contains no information collection or recordkeeping requirements under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.).

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List of Subjects in 9 CFR Part 94

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Accordingly, we are proposing to amend 9 CFR part 94 as follows:

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PART 94—RINDERPEST, FOOT-AND-MOUTH DISEASE, FOWL PEST (FOWL PLAGUE), EXOTIC NEWCASTLE DISEASE, AFRICAN SWINE FEVER, HOG CHOLERA, AND BOVINE SPONGIFORM ENCEPHALOPATHY: PROHIBITED AND RESTRICTED IMPORTATIONS

1. The authority citation for part 94 would continue to read as follows:

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Authority: 7 U.S.C. 450, 7711, 7712, 7713, 7714, 7751, and 7754; 19 U.S.C. 1306; 21 U.S.C. 111, 114a, 134a, 134b, 134c, 134f, 136, and 136a; 31 U.S.C. 9701; 42 U.S.C. 4331 and 4332; 7 CFR 2.22, 2.80, and 371.4.

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[Amended]

2. In § 94.1, paragraph (a)(2) would be amended by adding, in alphabetical order, the word “Japan,”.

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[Amended]

3. In § 94.11, paragraph (a), the first sentence would be amended by adding, in alphabetical order, the word “Japan,”.

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Done in Washington, DC, this 28th day of August 2001.

Craig A. Reed,

Administrator, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

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[FR Doc. 01-22134 Filed 8-31-01; 8:45 am]

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