Lacey Act Import Declaration for Plant Products Could See Changes
World Trade Interactive)
The Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service is inviting public comments by Aug. 29 on regulatory options that could address certain issues that have arisen with the implementation of the declaration required for imports of certain plants and plant products under the Lacey Act amendments of 2008. This declaration must contain the scientific name of the plant, the value of the importation, the quantity of the plant and the name of the country from which the plant was harvested.
Specifically, APHIS is seeking input on the following issues.
De minimis exception
Whether an exception from the declaration requirement for products containing minimal amounts of plant material could be developed that would be less burdensome while still carrying out the intent of the Lacey Act amendments, as well as the threshold (e.g., 2%, 5% or 10%) for such an exception in terms of the volume, weight and/or value of plant material in each item being imported. This exception would not apply to products containing plant material from species of conservation concern that are listed in an appendix to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, as an endangered or threatened species under the Endangered Species Act of 1973 or pursuant to any state law that provides for the conservation of species that are indigenous to the state and are threatened with extinction.
How importers may comply with the declaration requirement when importing composite plant products when the genus, species and country of harvest of some or all of the plant material may be extremely difficult or prohibitively expensive to determine. One approach APHIS is considering is to define the term “composite plant materials” and then formally recognize a de minimis exception from the declaration requirement for products containing such materials. Using this approach, “composite plant materials” might be defined as plant products and plant-based components of products where the original plant material is mechanically or chemically broken down and subsequently re-composed or used as an extract in a manufacturing process.
Comments are also sought on two possible approaches to incorporating such a definition into a de minimis exception from the declaration requirement for composite plant materials. In the first approach, importers would have to identify the genus, species and country of harvest of no less than a given percentage of the composite plant material content, measured on the basis of either weight or volume. In the second approach, the declaration would have to contain the average percent composite plant content, measured on the basis of either weight or volume, without regard for the species or country of harvest of the plant, in addition to information as to genus, species and country of harvest for any non-composite plant content.
How to accommodate products made of re-used plant materials or plant materials harvested or manufactured prior to the Lacey Act amendments and for which identifying the country of harvest, and possibly species, would be difficult if not impossible.
Whether to revise the import declaration to substitute a new term, “harvest location,” for the term “country of harvest,” which experience has indicated is so similar to the customs term “country of origin” as to be confusing.
Shorthand for common species
Whether groups of species commonly used in commercial production could be given a separate name that could be entered on the declaration form as a type of shorthand identification of genus and species, such as the currently recognized SPF acronym for spruce, pine and fir.