APHIS Will Begin Issuing Letters of Non-Compliance for Lacey Act Declaration Errors

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Effective October 1, 2018, USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) will notify importers and customs brokers, in most cases by email, when they submit Lacey Act declarations that contain errors. Common errors include: misidentifying the species of imported wood or wood products, listing unlikely country and plant species pairs, submitting incomplete declarations, and/or failing to file a declaration in a timely manner.

Importers who receive a letter of non-compliance do not need to take action to correct the declaration in question, but they should take steps to correct future declarations. Repeated failures to correct errors may result in APHIS referring future violations for investigation or potential enforcement action.

APHIS is committed to helping importers comply with the Lacey Act’s declaration requirements. Importers who receive a letter of non-compliance and have questions about the error or how to correct it are encouraged to contact the APHIS specialist listed in the letter for guidance. APHIS also has resources available online to help importers lookup plant genus and species as well as guidance for reporting plant products that are difficult or impossible to identify to the species level, clarification regarding acceptable units of measure, and instructions for reporting shipments that include groupings of certain plant species.

APHIS is responsible for enforcing the Lacey Act plant provision, which requires importers of certain plants and plant products, including items that contain plant materials, to submit a declaration stating the imported plant’s scientific name, value, quantity, and country where the plant was harvested. For more information about the import declaration requirement or the Lacey Act, please visit the APHIS website: www.aphis.usda.gov/plant_health/lacey_act