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Import Fee for Organic Products under Consideration

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service is seeking input by 20 March on a proposal to establish an industry-funded promotion, research and information programme for certified organic products. The purpose of this programme would be to strengthen the position of certified organic products in the marketplace, support research to benefit the organic industry, and improve access to information and data across the organic sector. The organic market includes a range of agricultural commodities such as fruits, vegetables, dairy, meat, poultry, breads, grains, snack foods, condiments, beverages, and packaged and prepared foods as well as non-food items such as fibre (linen and clothing), personal care products, pet food and flowers.

Under the proposed Organic Research, Promotion and Information Order, importers importing greater than US$250,000 in transaction value of organic products for the previous marketing year would pay an assessment of one-tenth of one percent of the transaction value of certified organic products reported to CBP. Certified domestic producers and handlers with gross sales of certified organic agricultural commodities in excess of US$250,000 for the previous marketing year would pay an assessment of one-tenth of one percent of net organic sales. Importers, producers and handlers that fall below these thresholds could choose to pay assessments into the programme as voluntarily assessed entities.

A referendum would be held among importers and domestic producers and handlers to determine whether they favour implementation of this programme prior to it going into effect. AMS is requesting comments by 20 March on the proposed procedures for conducting this referendum.

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