In mid-April, the Department of Transportation, Office of Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), released a guidance clarifying PHMSA’s current policy governing a non-resident’s use of U.S. Designated Agents. This guidance is of particular interest to foreign fireworks manufacturers. The guidance is effective April 19, 2016.
Non-resident fireworks manufacturers applying for EX Approvals are currently required to designate a single person (i.e., U.S resident or business entity) to serve as its designated agent. However, the clarification indicates that PHMSA will not object to a foreign manufacturer’s reliance upon multiple designated agents. While no explanation is provided, it makes sense to allow multiple agents, if only for the fact that it stands to reason that the more designated agents increase the likelihood that a communication from PHMSA (via the designated agents) will ultimately be received by the intended recipient, the foreign manufacturer.
Applications for additional designated agents are subject to the same standards of review presently prevailing. In brief, the information on the designated agent application must match the information described on the designated agent letter that accompanies the application. Any application for designated agent status (additional or otherwise) that contains information that does not match the information contained in the accompanying designated agent letter will be subject to rejection. Accordingly, it is critical that a designated agent application be accompanied by a designated agent letter. PHMSA has also re-emphasized its preference that foreign applicants include in all designated agent applications electronic contact information (e.g., email contact address) of the applicant or the designated agent, or both. Although not presently required, this additional information may help to expedite the processing time considerably.