In 2004, the U.S. Department of Agriculture adopted the international standard for wood packaging material (WPM) that was previously approved by the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC). The IPPC standard calls for most WPM to be either heat treated or fumigated with methyl bromide in accordance with the IPPC guidelines and marked with an approved international mark certifying that treatment.
Recent guidelines issued by CBP detail liquidated damages and penalty standards with regard to non-compliance with the WPM standards. Non-compliance may occur when: (1) WPM is unmarked; (2) WPM is inappropriately marked; or (3) WPM is infested with a named pest. Non-compliant WPM is subject to immediate export with the importer of record, carrier or bonded custodian being responsible for any costs or charges associated with the export.
Liquidated damages result from a breach of obligation under bond. When violations occur, the liquidated damages claim may be issued at three times the entered value of the merchandise but not greater than the bond amount. The value of the merchandise will be calculated as the value of the WPM plus the value of the commodity or commodities identified for importation on the entry documentation. Importantly, liquidated damages claims may be issued to importers, carriers or third parties responsible under a custodial bond.
In addition, penalties may be issued under 19 U.S.C. § 1592 for fraud, gross negligence or negligence or 19 U.S.C. § 1595a(b) for aiding unlawful importations.