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Are You Prepared for Lacey Phase VII?

Furniture importers will need to begin filling out Lacey Act declaration forms in 2024 – although no one can say exactly when just yet.

The International Wood Products Association (IWPA) will offer a training workshop from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Thursday, June 6, to help companies navigate the new requirement. The workshop will be held at the Guilford Technical Community College Conference Center.

By way of reminder, in 1900, Congressman John Lacey sponsored legislation to curb the import of exotic bird feathers. Lacey Act amendments up to 2008 expanded coverage to fish and animals and established individual and corporate responsibilities. The 2008 Farm Bill added wood and plant products to Lacey Act regulations, making it unlawful to “import, export, transport, sell, receive, acquire or purchase in interstate or foreign commerce” any plant transported or sold in violation of any U.S., state or foreign law or regulation.

Gibson Guitars was among the first companies charged under the new wood and plant products amendment. The company paid fines for importing rosewood and ebony that the government said was illegally logged from Madagascar rainforests in 2008 and 2009.

Now the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is preparing to implement phase VII of the Lacey Act. Declarations will be required for all plant product Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS) codes not already covered by Lacey.

Erin Otto of the APHIS Lacey Act team addressed AHFA board members at their May 2023 meeting in Washington, D.C. She said furniture would be among the products swept into phase VII, along with wicker baskets, lamps and kitchenware. Because so many new products may be added in phase VII, APHIS is advising importers to begin collecting information now, so the Lacey Act declarations will be ready to be completed when required – which will be six months after the list of affected HTS codes is published in the Federal Register.