19 June 2023Article
US Customs: Updated Lacey Act tightens import control

Phase VII of the Lacey Act extends scope of US import declaration requirements for plant products

What is the Lacey Act?

The Lacey Act is a set of US import regulations established to combat the illegal trafficking of wildlife, fish and plants. In 2008, its scope was expanded to include a broader range of plant and plant products, such as timber, wood, and paper, meaning it became unlawful to import products that are illegally harvested, or import certain products without a declaration.

What's New?

Phase VII is expected to come into force in Spring 2024, and will include a wide variety of materials and plant products that, up to now, have not required a declaration. Harmonised Tariff Schedules (HTS) for plant products that are not 100 percent composite materials will also be included under the updated regulations. A wide array of imported products—such as furniture, additional essential oils, and cork—that have never before needed Lacey Act declarations, will now require to have them provided.

What do US importers need to know?

Under the new guidelines, importers that import items containing certain plant products but thus far did not have to file a declaration may have to do so now. The HTS codes determining the complete list of materials and products are currently being reviewed by the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) and will be published by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) in September 2023, we will then advise all impacted customers accordingly.

It is the responsibility of the importer to file the declaration by completing the PPQ505 form (The Lacey Act Declaration), requiring importers to disclose the scientific name, value, quantity, and country of harvest of the item/s containing plant materials. Failure to do so could lead to penalties.

How can Woodland Group help?

Our local teams across the globe have years of dedicated customs experience and can assist with, and guide you through, all customs changes and processes relevant to your shipments.

Should you wish to clarify which tariff classifications or products of yours that may be affected, please do not hesitate to contact your Woodland representative who will be able to assist.

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