Daily Rules, Proposed Rules, and Notices of the Federal Government
This rule is issued in conformance with Executive Order 12866. It has been determined significant for the purposes of Executive Order 12866 and, therefore, has been reviewed by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).
It has been determined that the Regulatory Flexibility Act is not applicable to this rule because the Commodity Credit Corporation is not required by any provision of law to publish a notice of proposed rulemaking with respect to the subject matter of this rule.
This proposed rule has been reviewed in accordance with Executive Order 12988, Civil Justice Reform. This rule would have preemptive effect with respect to any State or local laws, regulations or policies which conflict with such provisions or which otherwise impede their full implementation; does not have retroactive effect; and does not require administrative proceedings before suit may be filed.
This program is not subject to the provisions of Executive Order 12372, which require intergovernmental consultation with State and local officials. See the notice related to 7 CFR part 3014, subpart V, published at 48 FR 29115 (June 24, 1983).
This rule contains no Federal mandates under the regulatory provisions of Title II of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (UMRA) for State, local, and tribal governments or the private sector. Thus, this rule is not subject to the requirements of sections 202 and 205 of the UMRA.
In accordance with section 3507(j) of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501
Comments should be sent to the Desk Officer for Agriculture, Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Office of Management and Budget, Washington, DC 20503 and to: Director, Marketing Operations Staff, Foreign Agricultural Service, Room 4932-S, Stop 1042, U.S. Department of Agriculture, 1400 Independence Ave., SW., Washington, D.C. 20250-1042.
Copies of this information collection may be obtained from Kimberly Chisley, FAS Information Collection Coordinator, at (202) 720-2568.
All responses to this notice will be summarized. All comments will also become a matter of public record.
It has been determined that this rule does not have sufficient Federalism implications to warrant the preparation of a Federalism Assessment. The provisions contained in this rule will not have a substantial direct effect on States or their political subdivisions, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities among the various levels of government.
It has been determined that this rule should be issued as an interim rule, without prior comment, but subject to modification on the consideration of those comments that are timely received. The Technical Assistance for Specialty Crops program is authorized by section 3205 of the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002 (Pub. L. 107-171), which became effective on May 13, 2002. That section provides that the Secretary of Agriculture shall establish a program to address unique barriers that prohibit or threaten the export of United States specialty crops and that the Secretary shall make available $2,000,000 of CCC funds for each of fiscal years 2002 through 2007. It has been determined that to delay the implementation of the rule pending comment would be impracticable and contrary to the public interest. That finding is based on the fact that, given the limited time remaining in this fiscal year, it is not possible for organizations to develop appropriate proposals for the new $2 million program and for the Department to adequately evaluate these new proposals through a meaningful allocation process. We do not believe that a compressed schedule that would result following adoption of a final rule after an initial proposed rule would give potential new applicants enough time to gather information and prepare a proposal. In addition, the Department would be forced to shorten its competitive review processes. In other words, the Department might not be able to allocate the resources as required by section 3205 of Public Law 107-171. Accordingly, for all the foregoing reasons, it has been determined that the provisions of this rule should be made effective immediately.
The CCC will periodically announce that proposals may be submitted for participation in a “Technical Assistance for Specialty Crops” program (TASC), which will be administered by personnel of the Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS). On May 13, 2002, the President signed the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002. Section 3205 of that Act directs the Secretary to establish an export assistance program to address unique barriers that prohibit or threaten the export of U.S. specialty crops. The statute directs the Secretary to make available $2,000,000 of CCC resources for TASC in each of fiscal years 2002 through 2007. U.S. specialty crops, for the purpose of this rule, include all cultivated plants, or the products thereof, produced in the U.S., except wheat, feed grains, oilseeds, cotton, rice, peanuts, sugar, and tobacco.
The TASC is designed to assist U.S. organizations by providing funding for projects that address sanitary, phytosanitary, and technical barriers that prohibit or threaten the export of U.S. specialty crops. TASC proposals will be accepted from any U.S. organization, including, but not limited to: U.S. government agencies, State government agencies, non-profit trade associations, universities, agricultural cooperatives, and private companies. FAS will consider providing either grant funds as direct assistance to U.S. organizations or providing technical assistance on behalf of U.S. organizations provided that the organization submits timely and sufficient proposals. CCC has published elsewhere in this issue a notice announcing that proposals to this program for fiscal year 2002 will be accepted until 5 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time, September 18, 2002. For fiscal year 2002, FAS will review all proposals against the evaluation criteria contained herein and make awards on a continuing, or rolling, basis.
Under the TASC program, CCC will enter into agreements with those non-Federal entities whose proposals have been approved. After implementation of a TASC project for which CCC has agreed to provide funding, participants may submit claims for reimbursement of the costs associated with completing the project, to the extent that CCC has agreed to pay such costs. A TASC participant will be reimbursed after CCC reviews its claim and determines that the claim is complete. TASC projects will be subject to verification by the FAS Compliance Review Staff. Upon request, a TASC participant shall provide to FAS the original documents that support the participant's project expenses. FAS may deny a claim for reimbursement if the claim is not supported by adequate documentation. TASC participants may request advances of funds up to 85 percent of the approved amount. In such cases, reimbursement claims will be used to offset the advanced funds. TASC participants must deposit and maintain advances in insured, interest-bearing accounts, unless such accounts are prohibited by law or custom of a host country.
Agricultural commodities, Exports, Specialty crops.
Sec. 3205 of Pub. L. 107-171.
For purposes of this part, the following definitions apply:
Under the TASC program, CCC, an agency and instrumentality of the United States within the Department of Agriculture, provides funds to eligible organizations, on a grant basis, to implement activities that are intended to address a sanitary, phytosanitary, or related technical barrier that prohibit or threaten the export of U.S. specialty crops that are currently available on a commercial basis. The TASC program is intended to benefit the represented industry rather than a specific company or brand. This program is administered by FAS.
(1) Organizational information, including:
(i) Organization's name, address, Chief Executive Officer (or designee), and Federal Tax Identification Number (TIN);
(ii) Type of organization;
(iii) Name, telephone number, fax number, and e-mail address of the primary contact person;
(iv) A description of the organization and its membership; and
(v) A description of the organization's experience in technical assistance projects, including activities involved and project results.
(2) Project information, including:
(i) A brief project title;
(ii) Request for funding;
(iii) A market assessment, including a brief description of the specific export barrier to be addressed by the project;
(iv) The goals of the project, and the expected benefits to the represented industry;
(v) A description of the activities planned to address the export barrier;
(vi) An itemized list of all estimated costs associated with the project for which reimbursement will be sought; and
(vii) Information indicating all financial and in-kind support to the proposed project, and the resources to be contributed by each entity that will contribute to the project's implementation. This may include the organization that submitted the proposal, private industry entities, host governments, foreign third parties, CCC, FAS, or other Federal agencies. Support may include cash, goods, and services. Although highly encouraged, financial support from the participant is not required.
(3) Export information, including:
(i) Performance measures for three years, beginning with the year that the project would begin, which will be used to measure the effectiveness of the project;
(ii) A benchmark performance measure for the year prior to the year that the project would begin; and
(iii) The viability of long-term sales to this market.
(1) The degree to which time is essential to addressing specific export barriers;
(2) The nature of the specific export barrier and the extent to which the proposal is likely to successfully remove, resolve, or mitigate that barrier;
(3) The impact of the proposed project on market retention, market access, and market expansion;
(4) The completeness and viability of the proposal;
(5) The ability of the organization to provide an experienced staff with the requisite technical and trade experience to execute the proposal;
(6) The extent to which the proposal is targeted to a market in which the United States is generally competitive;
(7) The potential for expanding commercial sales in the targeted market; and
(8) The cost of the project and the amount of other resources dedicated to the project, including cash and goods and services of the U.S. industry and foreign third parties.
Following approval of a proposal, CCC will enter into an agreement with
CCC will publish a notice periodically in the