Additional Wood Products Require Lacey Act Import Declaration: Phase Six Effective October 1, 2021

Arent Fox
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Arent Fox

On July 2, 2021, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) issued a Federal Register Notice announcing that additional plant and plant products (including certain wood-based essential oils, suitcases of wood, certain musical instruments, wood packing materials, etc.) will be added to the APHIS Implementation Schedule on October 1, 2021 and require a Lacey Act Import Declaration. 
 
  • Certain plants and plant products listed on the APHIS Implementation Schedule require a Lacey Act Import Declaration. As of October 1, 2021, additional products will require this declaration, including wood-based essential oils; trunks, cases, and suitcases of wood; wood packing containers such as cases, boxes, crates, drums, containers, pallets, and box-pallets; and certain musical instruments made of wood such as bagpipes, clarinet, flutes and piccolos, and some string instruments.
  • Importers of plant and plant products should review the list carefully to confirm whether their products are subject to Import Declaration requirements and ensure that accurate information is submitted, to avoid hefty penalties.

What Does the Lacey Act Require?

The Lacey Act (16 U.S.C. § 3371 – 3378) combats illegal trafficking of wildlife, fish, and plants, and makes it unlawful to import certain plant or plant products without an Import Declaration. APHIS is responsible for collecting declarations for imported plants and plant products and defines the scope of plant materials that require the import declaration.

The plants and plant products that require an Import Declaration, including those subject to this requirement effective October 1, 2021 are identified based on the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS) tariff classification listed on the APHIS Implementation Schedule found here.

The Import Declaration, which is generally submitted through the Automated Commercial Environment (ACE), must include the following information:

  • Scientific plant names
  • Country of harvest
  • Value of the product
  • Quantity of plant material in the shipment in metric units of measure
  • Importer name/address
  • Consignee name/address
  • HTSUS Code
  • Bill of lading
  • Container number
  • Manufacturer Identification Code (MID)
  • Description of shipment
  • Name/contact information of importer of record or their agent who is certifying the accuracy of the information on the declaration

Failure to submit the Import Declaration or falsely providing information or incorrect labeling of the plant or plant products could result in civil or criminal penalties. Civil penalties range from $250- $10,000 and criminal penalties range for individuals versus corporations. The criminal penalty for individuals is up to 5 years in prison and a fine of $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss. For corporations, the criminal penalty is 5 years of probation and a fine of up to $500,000 or twice the gross gain or loss. Restitution and forfeitures may also be imposed.

What Importers Should Know

Companies that import plants or plant products should check whether their products are classified in any of the tariff provisions set forth in the APHIS Implementation Schedule. Products included on the Schedule will require an accurate Import Declaration to avoid penalties and/or seizure. Certain plant and plant products may also be subject to other regulations and permitting requirements.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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