USDA postpones inspection fees at Canadian border until March 1
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service said Friday it's delaying the implementation date for collecting user fees for inspections of vessels, trucks, railroad cars and planes carrying fruits and vegetables grown in Canada or transiting the country.
The interim rule for the fees was initially set to take effect Nov. 24. USDA said the delay would allow affected industries time to prepare for the change.
Effective March 1, all exemptions for the user fee will be lifted on all commercial transportation entering the United States from Canada, the USDA said. User fees for airline passenger inspections take effect on Jan. 1.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection will conduct the inspections on behalf of the USDA.
'These inspections are necessary to further prevent the introduction of plant and animal pests and diseases into the United States via conventional pathways or through bioterrorism,' the USDA said in a statement Friday.
The USDA said recent inspections along the Canadian border have resulted in 'numerous interceptions' of prohibited fruits and vegetables originating in countries other than Canada. Interceptions of produce, meat and poultry have increased 94 percent, CBP Assistant Commissioner Jayson Ahern said earlier this month at a public meeting on trade issues. The fees are necessary to beef up the inspection force to address the agricultural risk, he said.