[Federal Register Volume 84, Number 82 (Monday, April 29, 2019)]
[Pages 17999-18001]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2019-08547]



Food Safety and Inspection Service

[Docket No. FSIS-2018-0039]

The Public Health Information System (PHIS) Export Component Fee

AGENCY: Food Safety and Inspection Service, USDA.

ACTION: Notice.


SUMMARY: The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is announcing 
that starting June 1, 2019, it will assess a fee to exporters that 
choose to apply for export certificates electronically through the 
export component of the Agency's Public Health Information System 
(PHIS). FSIS is only using the PHIS export component for a limited 
number of countries at this time.

DATES: FSIS will charge the fee announced in this notice beginning June 
1, 2019.

Administrator, Office of Policy and Program Development; Telephone: 
(202) 205-0495.


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    On June 29, 2016, the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) 
published the final rule, ``Electronic Export Application and 
Certification Charge; Flexibility in the Requirements for Export 
Inspection Marks, Devices, and Certificates; Egg Products Export 
Certification'' (81 FR 42225). The preamble to the final rule explained 
that FSIS would implement an electronic export application and 
certification system available through the Agency's PHIS export 
component. The electronic export application and certification process 
provides service options to U.S. exporters, enabling them to 
electronically submit, track, and manage their export applications. To 
cover the costs of providing this service, the final rule established a 
formula-based fee for electronic export applications.
    The applicability date of the export application and certification 
provisions provided in the final rule was June 29, 2017. The final rule 
stated that, on an annual basis, the Agency would update the fee and 
publish the new fee in the Federal Register.
    On September 4, 2017, FSIS published a Federal Register notice 
(FRN), ``Public Health Information System (PHIS) Export Component 
Country Implementation'' (FR 82 42056). The notice announced that, in 
response to stakeholder feedback and to ensure sufficient testing and 
outreach, the Agency extended the implementation date of the PHIS 
export component to June 29, 2018.
    The Agency also announced that it would implement the PHIS export 
component with a limited number of foreign countries and would expand 
implementation to add countries incrementally. In addition, FSIS stated 
that it would assess the fee no sooner than January 1, 2019, and would 
recalculate the fee based on the best available estimates for costs and 
number of applications.
    Under the authority of the Agricultural Marketing Act, FSIS will 
continue to make certifications regarding exported meat and poultry 
products meeting conditions or standards that are not imposed, or that 
are in addition to those imposed, by U.S. meat and poultry regulations, 
the Federal Meat Inspection Act (FMIA), or the Poultry Product 
Inspection Act (PPIA) (9 CFR 350.3(b) and 362.2(b)). FSIS collects fees 
and charges from establishments and facilities that request 
certification service in addition to the basic export certification of 
wholesomeness (9 CFR 350.7 and 362.5).

Electronic Export Application Formula Update

    As published in the final rule, the Electronic Export Application 
Fee Formula is:

    To determine the June 2019 electronic export application fee, FSIS 
has updated the labor costs and IT costs in the formula numerator. FSIS 
stated in the 2016 final rule and the 2017 Federal Register notice that 
it would update and recalculate the fee based on the best available 
estimates for costs and number of applications; however, the number of 
export applications (the denominator in the formula) cannot be 
accurately assessed until a majority of countries are using the export 
component. The current number of export applications is an estimate 
based on a survey conducted by FSIS's Office of Field Operations in 
June 2013 (81 FR 42230) of the certificates issued, which likely is an 
overestimate of the number of export certificates that will be issued 
in Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 via the PHIS export component. The 
overestimate of the number of export applications results in an 
underestimate of the initial fee that will be assessed starting June 1, 
2019. Therefore, using the codified formula above, FSIS is updating the 
numerator. The denominator (the number of export applications) remains 
    The 2019 Electronic Export Application Fee:
    The following discussion provides an explanation of the costs of 
providing the PHIS export component:
     Technical Support Costs: As noted in the final export rule 
and September 2017 Federal Register notice, technical support costs 
consist of activities like resolving user problems with the electronic 
application services, identifying web browser compatibility issues, and 
resolving access issues to authorized areas of the system (FR 82 
42056). The updated total technical support cost estimate is 
$560,901.60, which includes total yearly cost for a Help Desk 
Specialist ($278,553.60); total yearly cost for one Tier III Support 
Business Analyst from FSIS' PHIS Support Services Contract for the 
export component ($141,174); and total yearly cost for one Tier III 
Senior Business

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Analyst for the PHIS Production Version of the export component 
     Export Library Maintenance Cost: The cost for funding two 
full-time employees to provide export library functions is $337,369. 
Export library maintenance supports the PHIS export component and 
includes the writing, testing, and maintenance of complex business 
rules for evaluating the export application that is submitted into the 
PHIS export system. The business rules allow the system to determine 
product eligibility before the system accepts the application and 
transmits it to inspection program personnel. The business rules also 
facilitate the type of export certification required by the foreign 
government that will be issued when the application is accepted. This 
work supports the PHIS export component and is not part of current 
export library functions. In addition, there will be continuous updates 
to the system.
     On-going Operations and Maintenance Costs: As noted in the 
final export rule and September 2017 Federal Register notice, the cost 
of providing on-going operations and maintenance covers activities, 
such as modifying the application based on changes in requirements or 
user needs; adding functionality based on foreign regulatory changes; 
upkeep of the system to ensure a secure operating environment that 
protects the data, improvements and necessary repairs to keep the 
system responsive to users' needs; and costs to operate the system's 
components (FR 82 42056). The updated Operations and Maintenance costs 
is $1,414,285.60, based on a fixed price contract for ongoing PHIS 
development, operations, and maintenance. This cost may increase in 
future years based on whether the Government Services Administration 
(GSA) schedule increases in labor rates and other factors.
     eAuthentication costs: Consistent with the final export 
rule and September 2017 Federal Register notice, the cost of providing 
eAuthentication will remain zero when FSIS begins assessing the fee 
June 1, 2019. eAuthentication is a single sign-on application that 
allows users to securely access multiple USDA applications, including 
the PHIS export component. To access the PHIS export component users 
need to register for a USDA eAuthentication account. To learn more 
about eAuthentication and how to register for an account, visit https://www.eauth.usda.gov.

E-Government Act

    FSIS and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) are committed to 
achieving the purposes of the E-Government Act (44 U.S.C. 3601, et 
seq.) by, among other things, promoting the use of the internet and 
other information technologies and providing increased opportunities 
for citizen access to Government information and services, and for 
other purposes.

Additional Public Notification

    Public awareness of all segments of rulemaking and policy 
development is important. Consequently, FSIS will announce this Federal 
Register publication and officially notify the World Trade 
Organization's Committee on Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (WTO/
SPS Committee) in Geneva, Switzerland, of this proposal on-line through 
the FSIS web page located at: http://www.fsis.usda.gov/federal-register.
    FSIS also will make copies of this publication available through 
the FSIS Constituent Update, which is used to provide information 
regarding FSIS policies, procedures, regulations, Federal Register 
notices, FSIS public meetings, and other types of information that 
could affect or would be of interest to our constituents and 
stakeholders. Constituent Updates are available on the FSIS web page. 
Through the web page, FSIS is able to provide information to a much 
broader, more diverse audience. In addition, FSIS offers an email 
subscription service which provides automatic and customized access to 
selected food safety news and information. This service is available 
at: http://www.fsis.usda.gov/subscribe. Options range from recalls to 
export information, regulations, directives, and notices. Customers can 
add or delete subscriptions themselves and have the option to password 
protect their accounts.

USDA Non-Discrimination Statement

    No agency, officer, or employee of the USDA shall, on the grounds 
of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, gender identity, sexual 
orientation, disability, age, marital status, family/parental status, 
income derived from a public assistance program, or political beliefs, 
exclude from participation in, deny the benefits of, or subject to 
discrimination any person in the United States under any program or 
activity conducted by the USDA.

How To File a Complaint of Discrimination

    To file a complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program 
Discrimination Complaint Form, which may be accessed online at 
or write a letter signed by you or your 
authorized representative.
    Send your completed complaint form or letter to USDA by mail, fax, 
or email:
    Mail: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Director, Office of 
Adjudication, 1400 Independence Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410.
    Fax: (202) 690-7442.
    Email: [email protected].
    Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for 
communication (Braille, large print, audiotape, etc.), should contact 
USDA's TARGET Center at (202) 720-2600 (voice and TDD).

    Done at Washington, DC.
Carmen M. Rottenberg,
[FR Doc. 2019-08547 Filed 4-26-19; 8:45 am]