By The National Onion Association
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is seeking comments on a proposed rule to increases fees at U.S borders via a wide variety of transportation modes. The increases, if approved, would help recoup costs associated with governing and staffing the Agricultural Quarantine and Inspection (AQI) program that we rely on to prevent infestations of foreign pests.
APHIS will consider all comments received on or before October 10, 2023. Go to https://www.regulations.gov/commenton/APHIS-2022-0023-0001
APHIS and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Customs and Border Protection (CBP) jointly administer the AQI program, which assures that cargo and passenger baggage entering the country is inspected for plant pests and potential sources of animal diseases that could affect U.S. agriculture, trade and commerce. From 2017-19, the program ran on an annual deficit of more than $166 million. Current fees (now 8 years old) do not generate enough revenue to cover the costs of the AQI services provided. Imports are rising as well.
“Remember, this applies only to imports coming into the U.S. and that is how the inspection programs are funded,” said Greg Yielding, executive vice president and chief executive of the National Onion Association. “All growers, shippers and packers of U.S. onions need to make comments agreeing with these proposed fee increases to continue import inspections and protect the U.S. onion crop.”
Fee increases are proposed on commercial trucks, railcars, cargo ships and international air arriving at U.S. border inspection stations and ports.