Contributing Lawyers

Canada

Cyndee Todgham Cherniak

United States

Susan Kohn Ross

Australia

Andrew Hudson



U.S. Imposes New Softwood Reporting Rules for Canadian Exporters / U.S. Importers

On Tuesday, August 19, 2008, U.S. Customs and Border Protection's office of international trade (CBP) advised the trade community that importers of Canadian softwood lumber will have a 30-day grace period to implement new Softwood Lumber Act of 2008 reporting requirements.

CBP said that the data collection will not start until September 18, 2008 to give the trade community time to comply with the new requirements.

Under the new law, importers must provide additional data elements to CBP for all importations of softwood lumber and softwood lumber products. Specifically, importers are to provide CBP  on the CBP U.S. Entry Form 7501 three additional data elements:

  1. an export price,
  2. estimated export charge, if any applies, and
  3. an importer declaration.

These elements must be submitted for each line of imported softwood lumber and softwood lumber products subject to the Softwood Lumber Act of 2008.

 

Importers must retain CBP Form 7501 and any supporting documentation in accordance with CBP recordkeeping requirements and produce them upon request.

As a result of the announced delayed implementation, importations of softwood lumber subject to the Softwood Lumber Act of 2008 made between August 18 and September 17 will not be rejected based on any Softwood Lumber Act of 2008 requirements. In addition, entries of softwood lumber subject to the Softwood Lumber Act of 2008 made between August 18 and September 17 will not be amended nor supplemented to provide the three new data elements.

Whether the new reporting requirements are consistent with Softwood Lumber Agreement to resolve the latest round of Softwood Lumber disputes may be tested.  Based on the fact that CBP has been informed that the 10+2 advance data element requirements poses significant costs and hardship on business, an argument may be made that the new 3 advance data element rules applicable only to softwood lumber is inconsistent with the spirit of the Softwood Lumber Agreement and discriminatory under WTO rules and NAFTA.

Lang Michener LLP lawyers have been active in the Softwood Lumber cases and would be pleased to discuss these issues further.

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