Contributing Lawyers


Cyndee Todgham Cherniak

United States

Susan Kohn Ross


Andrew Hudson

Lacey Act Update

On May 22, 2008, the Lacey Act was amended to make it illegal to import, export, transport, sell, receive, acquire, or purchase in interstate or foreign commerce, any plant—with limited exceptions—to be taken or traded in violation of domestic or international laws. The Act extends the statute’s reach to include a broader range of plants and plant products, including timber deriving from illegally harvested plants. APHIS and Customs both make the point that illegal logging robs countries, destroys forests, and competes with the legal production and trade and go on to say these changes provide the legal authority to take action when products stemming from the practice of illegal logging enter the United States.


CBP has automated the process for collecting the declaration (PPQ 505) data elements. Data will be transmitted to ACS through ABI. Electronic filing of the PPQ 505 declaration will not preclude remote location filing. Electronic submission of the required data elements has been accepted since April 1, 2009. Enforcement of the data collection requirement will begin May 1, 2009. Customs is encouraging importers to use the 30-day period starting April 1, 2009, for live testing of the electronic system.


The Act now requires an import declaration for plants that includes the scientific name of any plant, a description of the value, quantity, and the name of the country from where the plant was taken. If a plant species or country of origin cannot be determined, the plant declaration must include a list of possible plant species found in the product or a list of possible countries from which the plant originated.


Phase I – PPQ declaration for available on the website and accepted after December 15, 2008.

Phase II - products in Chapter 44 of the HTS under headings 4401, 4403, 4404, 4406 - 4409, 4417 and 4418 and is effective April 1, 2009 to September 30, 2009.

Phase III - adds products also in Chapter 44 – 4402, 4405, 4410 - 4416, 4419 and 4420, and in Chapter 47 – 4701 – 4705 and is effective October 1, 2009, to March 31, 2010.

Phase IV - takes effect between April 1, 2010, and September 30, 2010, and adds products classified under Chapters 44 (4421), 448 (4801 through 4811) and 94 (9401.69, 9403.30, 9403.40, 9403.50, 9403.6 – 9403.70).


There are only a handful of exceptions to the declaration requirement. and they include plants and plant products used exclusively as packing material to support, protect, or carry another item including (but not limited to) instruction manuals, labels, pallets and crating, etc.; "common cultivars" and "common food crops" are to be defined by APHIS and FWS in joint rulemaking; as well as, plants for planting.


How are you documenting the species and origin of your covered products?

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