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Notice

Notice of Request for Extension and Revision of a Currently Approved Information Collection

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AGENCY:

Agricultural Marketing Service, USDA.

ACTION:

Notice and request for comments.

SUMMARY:

In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. Chapter 35), this notice announces the Agricultural Marketing Service's (AMS) intention to request an extension for and revision to a currently approved information collection for specified exempt import commodities.

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DATES:

Comments on this notice must be received by January 7, 2003.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION OR COMMENTS:

Contact Valerie L. Emmer-Scott, Marketing Specialist, Marketing Order Administration Branch, Fruit and Vegetable Programs, AMS, USDA, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW., room 2525-S., STOP 0237, Washington, DC 20250-0237; Fax: (202) 205-2829, or e-mail: moab.docketclerk@usda.gov.

Small businesses may request information on this notice by contacting Jay Guerber, Regulatory Fairness Representative, Marketing Order Administration Branch, Fruit and Vegetable Programs, AMS, USDA, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW., room 2525-S., Stop 0237, Washington, DC 20250-0237; telephone: (202) 720-2491, Fax: (202) 720-8938, or e-mail: Jay.Guerber@usda.gov.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Title: Specified Commodities Imported into the United States Exempt from Import Requirements.

OMB Number: 0581-0167.

Expiration Date of Approval: May 31, 2003.

Type of Request: Extension and revision of a currently approved information collection.

Abstract: Section 8e of the Agricultural Marketing Agreement Act of 1937 (Act), as amended (7 U.S.C. 601-674) requires that whenever the Secretary of Agriculture issues grade, size, quality, or maturity regulations under domestic marketing orders for certain commodities, the same or comparable regulations on imports of those commodities must be issued. Import regulations apply only during those periods when domestic marketing order regulations are in effect. Currently, the following commodities are subject to Section 8e import regulations: avocados, dates (other than dates for processing), hazelnuts, grapefruit, table grapes, kiwifruit, limes (suspended), olives (other than Spanish-styles olives), onions, oranges, Irish potatoes, prunes, raisins, tomatoes, and walnuts. However, imports of these commodities are exempt from such requirements if they are imported for such outlets as processing, charity, animal feed, seed, and distribution to relief agencies, when those outlets are exempt under the applicable marketing order.

Safeguard procedures in the form of importer and receiver importing requirements are used to ensure that the imported commodity is provided to authorized exempt outlets. The safeguard procedures are similar to the reports currently required by most domestic marketing orders. The import regulations require importers and receivers of imported fruit, vegetable, and specialty crops to submit a form, as provided in sections 944.350, 980.501, and 999.500.

An importer wishing to import commodities for exempt purposes must complete, prior to importation, an Importer's Exempt Commodity Form (FV-6), which is a four-part form. Copy one is presented to the U.S. Customs Service. The importer files copy two with the Marketing Order Administration Branch (MOAB) of the Fruit and Vegetable Programs, AMS, within two days after the commodity enters the United States. The third copy of the form accompanies the exempt shipment to its intended destination. The receiver certifies that the commodity has been received and that it will be utilized for authorized exempt purposes. The receiver then files copy three with MOAB, within two days after receiving the commodity. The fourth copy is retained by the importer.

The Department of Agriculture (Department) utilizes this information to ensure that imported goods destined for exempt outlets are given no less favorable treatment than that afforded to domestic goods destined for such exempt outlets. These exemptions are consistent with Section 8e import regulations under the Act.

This form requires the minimum amount of information necessary to effectively carry out the requirements of the Act, and its use is necessary to fulfill the intent of the Act, and to administer Section 8e compliance activities.

In addition, included in this extension and revision of a currently approved information collection is another form titled, “Civil Penalty Stipulation Agreement” (FV-7). This form provides AMS with an additional tool to obtain resolution of certain cases under the Act without the cost of going to a hearing. Stipulation agreements may be appropriate for, but limited to, instances of minor violations of a marketing order or marketing agreement or Section 8e of the AMAA. However, AMS is not under any obligation to issue stipulation agreements. The only requirement for this form is a signature, therefore, there is no burden on the person if they agree to the Agreement and return it.

The information collected is used primarily by authorized representatives of the Department, including AMS, Fruit and Vegetable Programs' regional and headquarters staff. AMS is the primary user of the information.

Estimate of Burden: Public reporting burden for this collection of information is estimated to average .17 hours per response.

Respondents: Importers and receivers of exempt commodities.

Estimated Number of Respondents: 300.

Estimated Number of Responses per Respondent: 50.

Estimated Total Annual Burden on Respondents: 2,550 hours.

Comments are invited on: (1) Whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information will have practical utility; (2) the accuracy of the agency's estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of information including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used; (3) ways to enhance the quality, utility and clarity of the information to be collected; and (4) ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are to respond, including through the use of appropriate automated, electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection techniques or other forms of information technology.

Comments should reference OMB No. 0581-0167 and be mailed to Docket Clerk, Fruit and Vegetable Programs, AMS, USDA, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW., room 2525-S., STOP 0237, Washington, DC 20250-0237; Fax: (202) 205-2829, or e-mail: moab.docketclerk@usda.gov. Comments should reference the docket number and the date and page number of this issue of the Federal Register. All comments received will be available for public inspection in the Office of the Docket Clerk during regular USDA business hours at 14th and Independence Ave., SW., Washington, DC, room 2525-S.

All responses to this notice will be summarized and included in the request for OMB approval. All comments will also become a matter of public record.

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Dated: November 4, 2002.

Kenneth C. Clayton,

Acting Administrator, Agricultural Marketing Service.

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[FR Doc. 02-28424 Filed 11-7-02; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 3410-02-P