Phase VII Implementation of the Lacey Act: What Importers Need to Know

Lacey Act

Phase VII Implementation of the Lacey Act: What Importers Need to Know

In the realm of international trade, staying abreast of regulatory changes is paramount. One such regulation, the Lacey Act, has been pivotal in combating illegal logging and promoting sustainable trade practices concerning plants and plant products. 

Understanding Phase VII:

Phase VII of the Lacey Act introduces a pivotal expansion, necessitating declarations for all remaining plant product Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS) codes that are not entirely composite materials. This expansion signifies a broadening scope, encompassing materials like furniture, cork, and select essential oils that previously did not mandate declarations.

What Importers Need to Prepare For:

If you import goods containing plant products and haven’t filed Lacey Act declarations before, Phase VII mandates a shift in your procedures. Come implementation, you’ll likely need to file declarations for affected items. To prepare, familiarize yourself with your supply chain and the necessary information for filing a declaration. This information can be found on the Information to Include on a Lacey Act Declaration web page.

Understanding Composite Materials:

Composite materials represent a key exemption within the Lacey Act. These materials involve plant products or plant-based components that undergo mechanical or chemical breakdown, subsequently being recomposed or used in manufacturing processes. Common examples include paper, paperboard, particleboard, and medium- to high-density fiberboard (MDF and HDF).

How to File a Declaration:

Importers have two primary avenues for electronically filing declarations:

  • Automated Commercial Environment (ACE): ACE serves as the primary platform for filing Lacey Act declarations. Through this automated system, importers can electronically submit required data to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and partner government agencies, including the APHIS Lacey Act Program.
  • Lacey Act Web Governance System (LAWGS): LAWGS provides an alternative for importers who would otherwise file a paper declaration. Importers utilizing ACE for customs information and LAWGS for Lacey Act declarations must indicate this arrangement in ACE.

While electronic filing is encouraged, importers can also opt to file declarations via mail, primarily catering to small-volume importers. Paper forms and instructions are available on the APHIS website.

Consequences of Non-Compliance:

Compliance with the Lacey Act is non-negotiable. Failure to adhere to declaration requirements can result in both civil and criminal penalties. Civil penalties range from administrative fines to forfeiture of goods, while criminal penalties encompass imprisonment and substantial fines, particularly for offenses involving significant market value.

Accessing Training Resources:

To assist affected industries in navigating Lacey Act compliance, APHIS has provided grants to organizations like the International Wood Products Association. These grants facilitate access to both in-person and online training on Lacey Act topics until September 2024. Importers can capitalize on these resources to enhance their understanding and adherence to regulatory requirements.

Where to Find More Information:

For comprehensive information on the Lacey Act and its implications for plants and plant products, importers can reach out to APHIS Lacey Act program staff here: or visit the Lacey Act website.

As Phase VII of the Lacey Act unfolds, importers must prioritize compliance to ensure seamless operations within the regulatory framework. By staying informed and leveraging available resources, importers can navigate these changes adeptly, fostering sustainable trade practices and environmental stewardship.

If you have questions, or need assistance, don’t hesitate to reach out to your Future Forwarding representative. 

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