The US Agriculture Department has authorized a limited exception to the Lacey Act requirement that all imported products containing wood and other plant products be accompanied by a declaration disclosing all wood in the products. The new “de minimis” rule exempts any product with no more than 5% of the weight of the individual product, provided that the total weight of the shipment does not exceed 2.9 kilograms. The rule is effective on April 1, 2020.
At the present time, only two categories of musical instruments—pianos and “other stringed instruments”—require a declaration, but the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service of the US Agriculture Department (APHIS) has indicated that it will expand those categories later this year. APHIS has adopted a phase-in of the import declaration requirement.
The Lacey Act, first enacted in 1900, is the United States’ oldest wildlife protection statute. It combats trafficking in illegally taken wildlife, fish, or plants. The act was amended in 2008 to require importers to submit a declaration at the time of importation for certain plants and plant products. The new exception was created to relieve the burden on importers while continuing to ensure that the declaration requirements fulfills the purposes of the Lacey Act.