Import-Export Tariff Increase

The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture recently released a proposal that will make the cost of importing and exporting animals and animal products a lot pricier than at present. The proposal will also apply to pet birds, which will undoubtedly affect bird breeders as well as bird owners involved in the import/export trade

According to the Federal Register – the U.S. Government’s official publication referring to rules, proposed rules and other federal documents – published on 4 June 2008, if the APHIS proposal is approved, import and export fees for animals, including birds, and animal products, will increase incrementally over the 2009 to 2013 fiscal years. The proposal takes into account the expected costs for providing services related to import and export, which incorporate the inspection and approval of facilities for importing and exporting, the processing of import permit applications and the endorsement of export certificates.

Those most likely to be affected by the proposed increases would be importers of birds that are subject to quarantine regulations at ports of entry. For example, it would cost $18 per day to confine a bird weighing more the 1,000 grams in an APHIS quarantine facility. By October 2012 the fee will increase to $21.

The chairman for the American Federation of Aviculture’s (AFA) Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) Committee, Rick Jordan, stated that his personal opinion (not necessarily that of the AFA) is that the increase in fees are likely to have a negative impact on bird breeders, with smaller entities that only transport one or two shipments a year being hardest hit. He questions the fairness of expecting small breeders to pay the same user and licensing fees as the larger entities that may deal in thousands of shipments per year, suggesting that the proposed fees should be based on the actual shipping activity of an entity.

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) invited public comments with regard to the fees proposal, with the closing date for comments being 4 August 2008. All comments that were submitted will be read by authorities and will be taken into consideration before a final decision is reached. The comments will also become available for interested parties to view. Import/export breeders and pet bird owners alike are no doubt anxious to hear the final decision.