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Notice

Notice of Request for Extension of Approval of an Information Collection

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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AGENCY:

Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, USDA.

ACTION:

Extension of approval of an information collection; comment request.

SUMMARY:

In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, this notice announces the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service's intention to request an extension of approval of an information collection in support of regulations under which softwood (coniferous) packing materials used with goods exported from the United States may be certified as having been heat treated.

DATES:

We will consider all comments that we receive on or before May 9, 2003.

ADDRESSES:

You may submit comments by postal mail/commercial delivery or by e-mail. If you use postal mail/commercial delivery, please send four copies of your comment (an original and three copies) to: Docket No. 03-027-1, Regulatory Analysis and Development, PPD, APHIS, Station 3C71, 4700 River Road Unit 118, Riverdale, MD 20737-1238. Please state that your comment refers to Docket No. 03-027-1. If you use e-mail, address your comment to regulations@aphis.usda.gov. Your comment must be contained in the body of your message; do not send attached files. Please include your name and address in your message and “Docket No. 03-027-1” on the subject line.

You may read any comments that we receive on this docket in our reading Start Printed Page 11355room. 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:

For information regarding the regulations for softwood packing materials exported from the United States, contact Mr. David B. Lamb, Export Certification Specialist, Phytosanitary Issues Management, PPQ, APHIS, 4700 River Road Unit 140, Riverdale, MD 20737; (301) 734-3818. For copies of more detailed information on the information collection, contact Mrs. Celeste Sickles, APHIS' Information Collection Coordinator, at (301) 734-7477.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Title: Export Certification; Heat Treatment of Softwood Packing Materials Exported to China.

OMB Number: 0579-0147.

Type of Request: Extension of approval of an information collection.

Abstract: The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) provides, among other things, export certification services to assure other countries that the plants and plant products that they are receiving from the United States are free of plant pests specified by the receiving country.

The export certification regulations contained in 7 CFR part 353 (referred to below as the regulations) set forth the procedures for obtaining certification for plants and plant products offered for export or reexport. It should be noted that export certification is not required by the regulations; rather, it is provided by the Plant Protection and Quarantine (PPQ) program of APHIS as a service to exporters.

Effective January 1, 2000, the Government of the People's Republic of China required goods from the United States to be accompanied by either a statement from the exporter that the shipment does not contain any softwood (conifer) packing materials, or by an APHIS-issued certificate certifying that the conifer packing materials in the shipment have been heat treated to a minimum core temperature of 56 °C for 30 minutes.

In response to this requirement, we developed a new certificate of heat treatment and procedures for issuing it to exporters who need to heat treat their packing materials in order to ship goods to China. This certificate, PPQ Form 553, is divided into two parts and serves as both a certification by the exporter that the required heat treatment was performed and USDA endorsement of industry compliance with the certification requirements.

We are asking the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to approve our use of this information collection activity for an additional 3 years.

The purpose of this notice is to solicit comments from the public (as well as affected agencies) concerning our information collection. These comments will help us:

(1) Evaluate whether the collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the Agency, including whether the information will have practical utility;

(2) Evaluate the accuracy of our estimate of the burden of the information collection, including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used;

(3) Enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and

(4) Minimize the burden of the information collection on those who are to respond, through use, as appropriate, of automated, electronic, mechanical, and other collection technologies, e.g., permitting electronic submission of responses.

Estimate of burden: The public reporting burden for this collection of information is estimated to average 0.01728 hours per response.

Respondents: U.S. exporters, State and county cooperators (inspectors).

Estimated annual number of respondents: 6,500.

Estimated annual number of responses per respondent: 25.

Estimated annual number of responses: 162,500.

Estimated total annual burden on respondents: 2,808 hours. (Due to averaging, the total annual burden hours may not equal the product of the annual number of responses multiplied by the reporting burden per response.)

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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Done in Washington, DC, this 5th day of March 2003.

Peter Fernandez,

Acting Administrator, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

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[FR Doc. 03-5598 Filed 3-7-03; 8:45 am]

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