Meat Industry Joins Truckers in Opposing Cross-border Agri Fees

Canada’s meat processors, packers and suppliers are the latest businesses to echo the trucking industry’s serious concerns with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service’s (APHIS) inspection fee hikes.

The proposed increases to the agricultural quarantine inspection (AQI) fee – which apply to every truck crossing the border regardless of whether the shipments contain agriculture products or wood pallets or not – could be as high as  200 percent.

Like the Canadian Trucking Alliance, the Canadian Meat Council (CMC) has filed a submission with USDA, expressing “significant concerns” with the proposed change to the AQI fee structure.

CMC says it supports government programs that are necessary to prevent the transmission of pests, diseases and food-borne pathogens. However, it says “setting excessive fee increases without consideration of the impacts on industry, or without seeking ways to more effectively and efficiently deploy its resources for better risk assessment and targeting, is troublesome.”

It points out the Canadian meat industry is subject to duplicativeU.S.government controls and fees at the border. On top of the APHIS program, Canadian trucks carrying meat shipments must also report to a privately-owned “inspection house” where USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Services (FSIS)  select a portion of the shipment for inspection. The fees are set by the private inspection house.

CMC also points out the proposed changes to the AQI fee structure also “run counter to the shared vision” of both federal governments as reflected in the Beyond the Border Action Plan and the Regulatory Cooperation Council (RCC).