WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is proposing an exception to the Lacey Act import declaration requirements for products containing a minimal, or “de minimis”, amount of plant material. The Lacey Act—which combats trafficking in illegally taken wildlife, fish, or plants—requires importers to prepare an import declaration for certain plants and plant products. The import declaration must include the scientific name of the plant, value of the importation, quantity of the plant, and name of the country where the plant was harvested. However, the Lacey Act does not address whether declaration requirements are necessary for otherwise non-plant products that contain a minimal amount of plant material, such as wooden buttons on a shirt.
To address this, APHIS is inviting public comments on two options for a de minimis exception to the declaration requirement for products that contain less than a certain amount of plant material. The first option would adopt an exception for products containing plant material that constitutes no more than 5 percent of the total weight of the individual product unit, provided that the total weight of plant material does not exceed 2.9 kilograms (6.93 pounds). The second option would adopt an exception for products containing plant material that constitutes no more than 5 percent of the total weight of the individual product, provided that the total weight does not exceed a designated amount of plant material by weight or board feet. APHIS invites comment on an appropriate maximum amount of plant material to designate under this option.
An exception would ensure that the declaration requirement fulfills the intent of the Lacey Act while reducing the regulatory burden on importers. The exception would not apply to protected plant species.
APHIS will carefully consider all comments received by September 7, 2018. This notice may be viewed in today’s Federal Register at: https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2018/07/09/2018-14630/lacey-act-implementation-plan-de-minimis-exception. Beginning July 9, 2018, members of the public will be able to submit comments at http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=APHIS-2013-0055
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