- Certain plants and plant products on the APHIS Implementation Schedule require a Lacey Act Import Declaration. As of October 1, 2021, other products will require this declaration, including essential oils made from wood; wooden trunks, boxes and suitcases; wooden packaging containers such as crates, boxes, crates, drums, containers, pallets and pallet boxes; and some wooden musical instruments such as bagpipes, clarinets, flutes and piccolos, and some stringed instruments.
- Importers of plants and plant products should carefully review the list to confirm whether their products are subject to import declaration requirements and ensure that accurate information is submitted, in order to avoid heavy penalties.
What does the Lacey Law require?
The Lacey Act (16 USC § 3371 – 3378) combats illegal trafficking in wildlife, fish, and plants, and makes it illegal to import certain plants or plant products without an import declaration. APHIS is responsible for collecting declarations of imported plants and plant products and defines the scope of plant materials that require the import declaration.
Plants and plant products that require an import declaration, including those subject to this requirement as of October 1, 2021, are identified based on the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS) tariff classification listed on the APHIS implementation schedule available here.
The import declaration, which is usually submitted through the Automated Business Environment (ACE), should include the following information:
- Scientific names of plants
- Harvest country
- Product value
- Quantity of plant material in the shipment in metric units of measure
- Name / address of importer
- Name / address of recipient
- HTSUS code
- bill of lading
- Container number
- Manufacturer’s identification code (MID)
- Description of the shipment
- Name / contact details of the official importer or his agent who certifies the accuracy of the information on the declaration
Failure to submit the import declaration or provide false information or incorrect labeling of the plant or plant products could result in civil or criminal penalties. Civil penalties range from $ 250 to $ 10,000 and criminal penalties vary for individuals versus corporations. The criminal penalty for individuals can be up to 5 years in prison and a fine of $ 250,000 or double the gross gain or loss. For corporations, the criminal penalty is 5 years probation and a fine of up to $ 500,000 or double the gross gain or loss. Restitution and confiscations may also be imposed.
What importers need to know
Companies importing plants or plant products should check whether their products are classified under one of the tariff provisions set out in the APHIS Implementation Schedule. The products included in the annex will require a precise import declaration to avoid penalties and / or seizure. Certain plants and plant products may also be subject to other regulations and permit requirements.