APHIS adjusts fees for Agricultural Quarantine and Inspection program

By Greg Grisolano, Land Line associate editor | 1/25/2016

The Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has amended its old user fee regulations by adding new categories and adjusting current charges. In order to minimize pest risks, vessels, trucks, railroad cars, aircraft, and international passengers arriving at ports in the customs territory of the United States are provided quarantine and inspection services. The fees are to recoup the cost of that service.

As of Dec. 28, 2015, the agency also adjusted or removed the fee caps associated with commercial trucks, commercial vessels and commercial railcars. For commercial trucks with a transponder, the final rule increases fees from $105 to $301.67 a year, and commercial trucks without a transponder from $5.25 to $7.55 per crossing.

“If imported cargo needs to be treated to minimize pest risks, the APHIS will charge a fee for that, too,” says Dale Watkins of OOIDA’s Business Services Department.

The fee is for treatment services to remove invasive animal or plant pests that have been found in cargo shipments. The fee, which is scheduled to be phased in over five years, starts out at $47 the first year, before reaching $237 by the fifth year. The agency has published the new fees on its website here.

In a press release announcing the publishing of the final rule, the agency says the new fees are designed to recoup the costs of conducting Agricultural Quarantine Inspections at U.S. ports of entry. The release states that the fee adjustment is based on an independent evaluation by an outside accounting firm and that the fees were also subject to an economic analysis.

“Under the new fee schedule, the U.S. Government will recover approximately $113 million more in revenue each year, providing total estimated annual revenue of $748 million on over $2.7 trillion in commercial goods and tens of millions of air and sea passengers entering the United States each year. This increase will ensure the financial stability of the AQI program, while minimizing the impact of fee changes on the U.S. economy and small businesses,” the release stated.

The agency used data from the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol to determine that approximately 91 percent of trucks use transponders rather than pay a per-crossing fee. 

Editor-in-Chief Sandi Soendker contributed to this report.

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