The Department of Agriculture is planning to further expand the Lacey Act import declaration requirement effective Dec. 1. Comments on the products affected by this change, including whether goods not specified by USDA should be included, may be submitted July 30.

The Lacey Act makes it unlawful to import certain plants, including plant products, without an import declaration that contains the scientific name of the plant, value of the importation, quantity of the plant, and name of the country from which the plant was harvested. For paper and paperboard products containing recycled content, the declaration must also include the average percent of recycled content without regard for species or country of harvest.

The declaration requirement does not apply to plants used exclusively as packaging material to support, protect, or carry another item unless the packaging material itself is the item being imported. Common cultivars, such as cotton, and common food crops are not covered. There is also an exception for imported goods containing plant material that represents no more than five percent of the total weight of the individual product unit.

Enforcement of the import declaration requirement began April 1, 2009, and has been expanded several times since, most recently in 2021.

USDA has now announced plans to implement the final phase of this process by expanding the import declaration requirement to all remaining plant products HTSUS numbers that are not 100 percent composite materials. A list of affected products can be found here; it includes medicinal plants, essential oils, handbags, plywood, laminated wood, tools, matches with natural wood stems, products of natural cork, products of bamboo and rattan, footwear, umbrellas, tools, machinery, vehicles, clocks and watches, musical instruments, firearms, furniture, toys and games, and more.

Importers of covered goods that do not currently file an import declaration will likely need to effective Dec. 1.

For more information on the Lacey Act import declaration requirement, or how this change may affect your business, please contact Ned Steiner at (202) 730-4970 or via email.

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