The Canadian Trucking Alliance is raising objections to a U.S. proposal to increase some fees for trucks crossing into the states. The U.S. Department of Agriculture wants to raise fees related to the Animal Plant and Health Inspection Service, but CTA says the fees are already out of line.
CTA filed comments in response to the USDA’s proposed rule saying it “strongly objects to the way in which the APHIS program is administered, applied and funded.” In particular, CTA believes that the U.S. is overreaching its authority by applying APHIS fees to all trucks crossing the border, even those that are not related to food or agriculture and which are not shipped on wooden pallets (which may carry bugs or fungi). Even trucks with empty trailers are required to pay APHIS fees when entering the U.S.
“Goods that present no risk should not be subject to APHIS fees,” says the organization in its comments. Now that the USDA wants to increase the fees, the CTA is asserting its position. The group says that the use of e-Manifest to supply advance cargo information for all cross-border shipments provides a practical mechanism for determining in advance which trucks should be inspected and subject to the fee.
CTA also asserts that in some cases, the APHIS fees may constitute customs user fees, which are prohibited by the North American Free Trade Agreement. They may also be a violation of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade. APHIS has stated that it needs to raise fees because the current revenue is not enough to support the Agricultural Quarantine Inspection program. The plan calls for a 205 percent increase in transponder fees, from $105 to $320 per year per truck. Fees for trucks without transponders would increase 52 percent from $10.75 to $13.50 per crossing.