WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The USDA's Foreign Agricultural Service is seeking comments on proposed regulations for its Quality Samples Program.

The QSP encourages new sales of agricultural products by helping U.S. exporters provide samples of American commodities to foreign buyers who have not previously used them.

Proposed regulations cover participant eligibility, application requirements, review and allocation process, reimbursement rules, and procedures and program controls.

The QSP funds projects that benefit entire agricultural industries rather than individual exporters. Recipients are reimbursed for certain costs of purchasing and transporting product samples to show foreign importers the attributes, characteristics and use of U.S. commodities.

Funds are awarded competitively based on several criteria, including the likelihood that the projects will effectively demonstrate the benefits of the U.S. product, the applicant's technical and trade experience, the potential for expanding commercial sales in the market, and the financial and in-kind contributions of applicants and importers.

Comments on the proposed rule must be received on or before Oct. 2, 2006. The request for public comments was published in the Aug. 3, 2006, Federal Register and may be accessed on the Web.

Comments must be submitted to Director, Marketing Operations Staff, Foreign Agricultural Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Stop 1042, 1400 Independence Ave., S.W., Washington, D.C. 20250-1042; by fax at (202) 720-9361; or by e-mail at mosadmin@fas.usda.gov.

For further information contact the Marketing Operations staff at (202) 720-4327.

SOURCE: USDA news release.