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Notice

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

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AGENCY:

Foreign Agricultural Service, USDA.

ACTION:

Notice and request for comments.

SUMMARY:

In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act, this notice announces the Department's intention to request an extension for a currently approved information collection in support of the Export Sales Reporting program.

DATES:

Comments should be submitted no later than May 14, 2004.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION AND COMMENTS:

Contact Tim Rocke, Export Sales Reporting, Program Manager, STOP 1025, U.S. Department of Agriculture, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW., Washington, DC 20250-1025, telephone (202) 720-9209, e-mail esr@fas.usda.gov.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Title: Export Sales Reporting Program.

OMB Number: 0551-0007.

Expiration Date of Approval: July 31, 2004.

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

Abstract: Section 602 of the Agricultural Trade Act of 1978, as amended, requires the reporting of information pertaining to contracts for export sale of certain specified agricultural commodities and other commodities that may be designated by the Secretary. In accordance with Sec. 602, individual weekly reports submitted shall remain confidential and shall be compiled and published in compilation form each week following the week of reporting. Any person who knowingly fails to make a report shall be fined not more than $25,000 or imprisoned for not more than 1 year, or both. Regulations at 7 CFR part 20 implement the reporting requirements, and prescribe a system for reporting information pertaining to contracts for export sales.

USDA's export sales reporting system has its roots in the unexpected purchase of large amounts of U.S. wheat and corn by the Soviet Union in 1972. To make sure that all parties involved in the production and export of U.S. grain have access to up-to-date export information, the U.S. Congress mandated an export sales reporting requirement in 1973. Prior to the establishment of the export reporting system, it was impossible for the public to obtain information on export sales activity until the actual shipments had taken place. This frequently resulted in considerable delay in the availability of information.

Under the export sales reporting system, U.S. exporters are required to report all large sales of certain designated commodities by 3 p.m. (eastern time) on the next business day after the sale is made. The designated commodities for these daily reports are wheat (by class), barley, corn, grain sorghum, oats, soybeans, soybean cake and meal, and soybean oil. Large sales for all reportable commodities except soybean oil are defined as 100,000 metric tons or more of one commodity in one day to a single destination or 200,000 tons or more of one commodity during the weekly reporting period. Start Printed Page 12115Large sales for soybean oil are 20,000 tons and 40,000 tons, respectively.

Weekly reports are also required, regardless of the size of the sales transaction, for all of these commodities, as well as wheat products, rye, flaxseed, linseed oil, sunflowerseed oil, cotton (by staple length), cottonseed, cottonseed cake and meal, cottonseed oil, rice (by class) cattle hides and skins (cattle, calf, and kip), and beef. The reporting week for the export sales reporting system is Friday-Thursday. The Secretary of Agriculture has the authority to add other commodities to this list.

U.S. exporters provide information on the quantity of their sales transactions, the type and class of commodity, the marketing year of shipment, and the destination. They also report any changes in previously reported information, such as cancellation and changes in destinations.

The estimated total annual burden of 30,686 hours in the OMB inventory for the currently approved information collection will be increased by 504 hours to 31,190 hours. The estimated increase is based on the growth in the export market.

Estimate of burden: The average burden, including the time for reviewing instructions, gathering data needed, completing forms, and record keeping is estimated to be 33 minutes.

Respondents: All reports of wheat and wheat flour, feed grains, oil seeds, cotton, rice, cattle hides and skins, beef and any products thereof, and other commodities that the Secretary may designate as produced in the United States.

Estimated number of respondents: 380 for forms FAS 97, 98, 99, and 100.

Estimated Annual Number of Responses per Respondent: 152.

Requests for Comments: Send comments regarding (a) 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; (b) the accuracy of the agency's estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of information; (c) ways to enhance the quality, utility and clarity of the information to be collected; and (d) ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are to respond, including through the use of automated, electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection techniques or other forms of information technology. Copies of the current information collection may be obtained from Kimberly Chisley, the Agency Information Collection Coordinator, at (202) 720-2568 or e-mail at chisleyk@fas.usda.gov. Comments may be sent to Tim Rocke, Marketing Operations Staff/Export Sales Reporting, FAS, 1400 Independence Avenue, Stop 1025, SW., Washington, DC 20520-1025 or esr@fas.usda.gov, or to the Desk Officer for Agriculture, Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Office of Management and Budget, Washington, DC 20503. Persons with disabilities who require an alternative means of communication of information (Braille, large print, audiotape, etc.) should contact USDA's Target Center at (202) 720-2600 (voice and TDD). All responses to this notice will be summarized and included in the request for OMB approval. All comments also will become a matter of public record.

Government Paperwork Elimination Act: FAS is committed to compliance with the Government Paperwork Elimination Act, which requires Government agencies, in general, to provide the public the option of submitting information or transacting business electronically to the maximum extent possible.

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Signed at Washington, DC, on February 27, 2004.

A. Ellen Terpstra,

Administrator, Foreign Agricultural Service.

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[FR Doc. 04-5707 Filed 3-12-04; 8:45 am]

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