Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, USDA.
We are amending the regulations to add the Republic of Korea to the list of regions that are considered free of rinderpest and foot-and-mouth disease (FMD). We are taking this action because we have conducted an evaluation and determined that the Republic of Korea is free of rinderpest and FMD. We are also adding the Republic of Korea to the list of regions that are subject to certain import restrictions on meat and meat products because of their proximity to or trading relationships with rinderpest- or FMD-affected countries. These actions will update the disease status of the Republic of Korea with regard to rinderpest and FMD while continuing to protect the United States from an introduction of those diseases by providing additional requirements for meat and other animal products imported into the United States from the Republic of Korea.
Effective Date: January 12, 2010.Start Further Info
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:
Dr. Julia Punderson, Senior Staff Start Printed Page 68479Veterinarian, Regionalization Evaluation Services, National Center for Import and Export, VS, APHIS, 4700 River Road Unit 38, Riverdale, MD 20737-1231; (301) 734-4356.End Further Info End Preamble Start Supplemental Information
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 communicable diseases, including rinderpest, foot-and-mouth disease (FMD), African swine fever, classical swine fever, 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 is considered to exist 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 are subject to certain restrictions because of their proximity to or trading relationships with rinderpest or FMD-affected regions.
On March 30, 2009, we published in the Federal Register a proposal (74 FR 14093-14097, Docket No. APHIS-2008-0147) to amend the regulations by adding the Republic of Korea (South Korea) to the list in § 94.1 of regions declared free of FMD and rinderpest. We also proposed to add the Republic of Korea to the list in § 94.11 of regions that are declared to be free of these diseases, but that are subject to certain restrictions because of their proximity to or trading relationships with rinderpest or FMD-affected regions. In addition, we published a notice of availability of an environmental assessment (74 FR 17115) on April 14, 2009 (see footnote 1).
We solicited comments concerning our proposal for 60 days ending May 29, 2009. We did not receive any comments. Therefore, for the reasons given in the proposed rule, we are adopting the proposed rule as a final rule, without change.
This is a substantive rule that relieves restrictions and, pursuant to the provisions of 5 U.S.C. 553, may be made effective less than 30 days after publication in the Federal Register. This rule relieves certain rinderpest and FMD-related restrictions on the importation into the United States of ruminants, or fresh (chilled or frozen) meat or other products of ruminants, from the Republic of Korea. We have determined that approximately 2 weeks are needed to ensure that APHIS and Department of Homeland Security, Bureau of Customs and Border Protection, personnel at ports of entry receive official notice of this change in the regulations. Therefore, the Administrator of the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has determined that this rule should be effective 15 days after publication in the Federal Register.
Executive Order 12866 and Regulatory Flexibility Act
This rule has been reviewed under Executive Order 12866. For this action, the Office of Management and Budget has waived its review under Executive Order 12866.
This rule amends the regulations by adding the Republic of Korea to the list of regions considered to be free of rinderpest and FMD. This action, which was requested by the Republic of Korea, follows a risk assessment conducted by APHIS concluding that the Republic of Korea is free of both diseases and has the veterinary infrastructure in place to detect and effectively eradicate the diseases if necessary. The effect of the rule will be to remove certain rinderpest and FMD-related prohibitions and restrictions on the importation into the United States of ruminants, or fresh (chilled or frozen) meat or other products of ruminants, from the Republic of Korea. APHIS imposes such restrictions because an FMD or rinderpest outbreak in the United States has the potential for severe economic consequences. Although imports of swine and swine products typically would be allowed under APHIS’ FMD and rinderpest regulations, those commodities are not eligible for importation from the Republic of Korea due to USDA regulations designed to prevent the introduction of diseases other than FMD and rinderpest.
We do not anticipate that changing the FMD and rinderpest status of the Republic of Korea will have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of U.S. entities, large or small, because the volume of currently prohibited/restricted animals and animal products imported into the United States from the Republic of Korea is likely to be very small relative to overall U.S. supply of those commodities (production and net imports from all foreign sources). There are several reasons for this. First, the volume of U.S. imports from the Republic of Korea prior to March 20, 2000 (the date the Republic of Korea was removed from the list of regions considered to be free of FMD and rinderpest) was negligible. During the 3-year period from 1997 to 1999, the United States did not import any reportable amounts of ruminants or fresh (chilled or frozen) meat or other products of ruminants from the Republic of Korea, other than 1.3 metric tons of dairy products in 1998.
Second, the Republic of Korea produces less beef, milk, and pork than it consumes, and is therefore a net importer of these commodities. Given this fact, there will likely not be a significant volume of exports of those commodities to the United States.
Finally, APHIS’ staff expects that Hanwoo beef, a premium-priced specialty meat produced from Korean native cattle, is likely to be the Republic of Korea’s primary export to the United States. Because of its premium price, the market for Hanwoo beef is limited; it is likely to be sold to a niche market, such as Korean restaurants in the United States.
Importers, brokers, and others interested in importing Hanwoo beef, as well as restaurants intending to serve that product, are the U.S. entities most likely to be affected by the rule. They stand to benefit from the increased business activity. The number of these entities is unknown but it is likely to be very small, given the expected limited market for Hanwoo beef in the United States. The size of these entities is also unknown, although it is reasonable to assume that, as with U.S. businesses in general, most are small under the standards of the U.S. Small Business Administration. Therefore, this action should have no noticeable effect on U.S. beef producers, given the expected limited demand for Hanwoo beef.
Under these circumstances, the Administrator of the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has determined that this action will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities.
This final rule has been reviewed under Executive Order 12988, Civil Justice Reform. This rule: (1) Has no retroactive effect and (2) does not require administrative proceedings Start Printed Page 68480before parties may file suit in court challenging this rule.
National Environmental Policy Act
An environmental assessment and finding of no significant impact have been prepared for this final rule. The environmental assessment provides a basis for the conclusion that the removal of certain rinderpest and FMD-related prohibitions and restrictions on the importation into the United States of ruminants, or fresh (chilled or frozen) meat or other products of ruminants, from the Republic of Korea will not have a significant impact on the quality of the human environment. Based on the finding of no significant impact, the Administrator of the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has determined that an environmental impact statement need not be prepared.
The environmental assessment and finding of no significant impact were prepared in accordance with: (1) The National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA), as amended (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.), (2) regulations of the Council on Environmental Quality for implementing the procedural provisions of NEPA (40 CFR parts 1500-1508), (3) USDA regulations implementing NEPA (7 CFR part 1b), and (4) APHIS’ NEPA Implementing Procedures (7 CFR part 372).
The environmental assessment and finding of no significant impact may be viewed on the Regulations.gov Web site. Copies of the environmental assessment and finding of no significant impact are also available for public inspection at USDA, room 1141, South Building, 14th Street and Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC, between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, except holidays. Persons wishing to inspect copies are requested to call ahead on (202) 690-2817 to facilitate entry into the reading room. In addition, copies may be obtained by writing to the individual listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT.
Paperwork Reduction Act
This final rule contains no information collection or recordkeeping requirements under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.).Start List of Subjects
List of Subjects in 9 CFR Part 94
- Animal diseases
- Meat and meat products
- Poultry and poultry products
- Reporting and recordkeeping requirements
Accordingly, we are amendingEnd Amendment Part Start Part
PART 94—RINDERPEST, FOOT-AND-MOUTH DISEASE, EXOTIC NEWCASTLE DISEASE, AFRICAN SWINE FEVER, CLASSICAL SWINE FEVER, SWINE VESICULAR DISEASE, AND BOVINE SPONGIFORM ENCEPHALOPATHY: PROHIBITED AND RESTRICTED IMPORTATIONSEnd Part Start Amendment Part
1. The authority citation for part 94 continues to read as follows:End Amendment Part
2. In § 94.1, paragraph (a)(2) is amended by adding the words “Republic of Korea,” after the word “Japan,”.End Amendment Part
3. In § 94.11, paragraph (a) is amended by adding the words “Republic of Korea,” after the word “Japan,”.End Amendment Part
Done in Washington, DC, this 16th day of December 2009.Start Signature
Acting Administrator, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.
1. To view the proposed rule, the risk evaluation, the environmental assessment and notice, and the finding of no significant impact, go to (http://www.regulations.gov/fdmspublic/component/main?main=DocketDetail&d=APHIS-2008-0147).Back to Citation
2. APHIS’ risk evaluation states that the animal health status of swine for diseases other than FMD has not been evaluated. In the absence of a favorable evaluation, live swine and swine-derived products will not be eligible to be imported from the Republic of Korea.Back to Citation
3. See footnote 1.Back to Citation
[FR Doc. E9-30668 Filed 12-24-09: 12:36 pm]
BILLING CODE: 3410-34-S