The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) and the Department of Homeland Security’s Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will be holding a briefing for stakeholders regarding the proposed adjustment to agricultural quarantine inspection (AQI) fees. The briefing is scheduled for Wednesday, July 9, at 3:00 p.m. EDT and will be held via conference call and Webinar.
In addition to providing an overview the proposed AQI fee changes and a chance for stakeholders to learn more about the issue and ask questions, organizers of the event indicate that will also afford interested parties another opportunity to provide their input within the framework of the comment period on the USDA’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that was recently extended through July 24, 2014.
Many companies within the trade community strongly oppose the proposed fee increases including U.S. produce importers, maritime cargo shippers and cross-border trucking companies. In its submission to the USDA, Canadian Trucking Association said it “strongly objects to the way in which the APHIS program is administered, applied and funded.” The group also believes the fees may be illegal under the North American Free Trade Agreement, which prohibits customs user fees, and the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, which says that all fees and charges shall not represent an indirect protection to domestic products or a taxation of imports or exports for fiscal purposes. APHIS claims the proposed adjustments — the first changes to AQI user fees in nearly a decade — will ensure the AQI program has the financial stability it needs to continue the critical work of keeping U.S. agriculture safe and productive.
To participate in the briefing, organizers ask that you please register in advance and provide your name, organization and email address. Once you submit your information, you will promptly receive an email with the call-in number and a unique conference code to enter the call as well as a link to join the Webinar. In the event you experience technical difficulties, you will still be able to hear the audio portion of the call even if you’re unable to connect to the Webinar.