Sunday, January 25, 2009

USDA Eases Lacey Act Declaration Requirement for Imported Goods

(World Trade Interactive)

The Department of Agriculture has announced various steps that will ease the new import declaration requirement under the amended Lacey Act. These changes address the scope of the declaration requirement, the timeframe for implementation, the definition of certain terms, effects on trade and industry, and enforcement issues.

(The USDA notice had been scheduled to be published in the Federal Register Jan. 23 but has been withdrawn for further review in light of a White House directive.)

Enforcement Delayed
Imports of certain plants and plant products must be accompanied by import declaration containing the scientific name of the plant, the value of the importation, the quantity of the plant and the name of the country from where the plant was harvested. For paper and paperboard products containing recycled content the declaration must also include the average percent of recycled content regardless of species or country of harvest.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection is currently modifying the Automated Commercial System to collect this information and the USDA does not plan to begin enforcement of the declaration requirement until that process is completed, which CBP continues to anticipate will be no later than April 1, 2009.

However, in response to public comments, the USDA is extending the schedule of phased-in enforcement of the declaration requirement and has provided a list of products that fall within each phase, as follows.

• Present–March 2009 (phase I): plant import declaration form available on USDA Web site; domestic and international outreach will be conducted

• April 1–Sept. 30, 2009 (phase II): HTS headings 4401(fuel wood), 4403 (wood in the rough), 4404 (hoopwood; poles, piles, stakes), 4406 (railway or tramway sleepers), 4407 (wood sawn or chipped lengthwise), 4408 (sheets for veneering), 4409 (wood continuously shaped), 4417 (tools, tool handles, broom handles), and 4418 (builders’ joinery and carpentry of wood)

• Oct. 1, 2009–March 31, 2010 (phase III): in addition to phase II, HTS headings 4402 (wood charcoal), 4405 (wood wool [excelsior]), 4410 (particle board), 4411 (fiberboard of wood), 4412 (plywood, veneered panels), 4413 (densified wood), 4414 (wooden frames), 4415 (packing cases, boxes, crates, drums), 4416 (casks, barrels, vats, tubs), 4419 (tableware and kitchenware), 4420 (wood marquetry; caskets; statuettes), 4701 (mechanical wood pulp), 4702 (chemical wood pulp, dissolving), 4703 (chemical wood pulp, sulfate), 4704 (chemical wood pulp, sulfite), and 4705 (combination mechanical and chemical)

• April 1–Sept. 30, 2010 (phase IV): in addition to phase III, HTS headings 4421 (articles of wood, not elsewhere specified or included), 4801 (newsprint), 4802 (uncoated writing paper), 4803 (toilet or facial tissue stock), 4804 (uncoated kraft paper), 4805 (other uncoated paper and board), 4806 (vegetable parchment, etc.), 4807 (composite paper and board), 4808 (corrugated paper and board), 4809 (carbon paper), 4810 (coated paper and board), 4811 (paper coated, etc. other than 4803, 4809 or 4810), 9401.69 (seats with wooden frames), 9403.30 (wooden office furniture), 9403.40 (wooden kitchen furniture), 9403.50 (wooden bedroom furniture), 9403.60 (other wooden furniture), 9403.90.70 (wooden furniture parts)

The USDA is seeking comments by March 24 on (a) the products covered under phases III and IV, (b) whether any additional HTS chapters should be included in this schedule and (c) how the declaration requirement should be enforced with respect to products not listed in this schedule.

Scope of Affected Goods Narrowed
The USDA will only require a declaration for the product being imported and not for sundries that ordinarily accompany it, such as tags, labels, manuals and warranty cards.

In addition, the USDA will only enforce the declaration requirement for formal consumption entries (i.e., most commercial shipments). It does not currently intend to enforce the declaration requirement with respect to informal entries (i.e., most personal shipments), personal importations or mail (unless subject to formal entry), transportation and exportation entries, in-transit movements, carnet importations (i.e., merchandise or equipment that will be re-exported within a year) and foreign-trade zone and warehouse entries.