NEW DECLARATION FOR IMPORTED MERCHANDISE MADE FROM WOOD OR PLANTS

Congress has delayed enforcing legislation to tighten the requirements for the importation of wood, plants and products made from wood and plants. U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the Department of Justice are contemplating to begin full enforcement of the requirements April 1, 2009.

Under provisions in the 2008 Farm Bill that amended the Lacey Act, importers of subject merchandise must submit a declaration that includes the genus and species of the plant(s) used, the value and quantity of the importation, and the country of origin of the imported product. At this time several Federal agencies are still looking to Congress for clarification on what products are covered, whether or not goods with only trace amounts of covered plants or plant products could be excluded from the new requirement, as well as other crucial elements.

The initial phase of this regulation was due to begin on December 15, 2008, however, with the recent extension importers will have the option of submitting voluntary paper declarations indicating the genus and species of the plant(s) used, the value and quantity of the importation, and the country of origin of the imported product. After April 1, 2009, the declaration requirement will become mandatory, although it is expected that CBP will phase this in through several stages based upon commodity.

When fully implemented, it will be illegal to import, export, transport, sell, receive, acquire, purchase in interstate or foreign commerce any plant taken (captured, killed, collected, harvested, cut, logged or removed) in a foreign country that is:

  • Taken, transported, possessed or sold in violation of any foreign law that protects or regulates theft of plants, the taking of plants from a park, forest service forest reserve or another officially protected or designated area, or the taking of plants without or contrary to required authorizaTaken, transported, possessed or sold without paying required royalties, taxes or stumpage fees;
  • Taken, transported, possessed or sold in violation of any legal limitation governing the export or transshipments of plants.

Information on this and other recent developments can be obtained from our technical consulting group.