On September 1, 2009, the USDA Animal and Planet Health Inspection Service (“APHIS”) announced that it is changing the enforcement schedule for declaration requirements under the Lacey Act. As a result, October 1, 2009 (phase three) and April 1, 2010 (phase four) enforcement dates will be postponed for certain composite products until at least September 1, 2010. Specifically, APHIS proposes delaying the enforcement of the reporting requirement slated for 11 products made of composite materials including particle board, chemical wood pulp and densified wood, that were originally slated for phase three enforcement on October 1, 2009. Phase three enforcement will now cover only items classified in the following HTSUS headings: 4402 (wood charcoal), 4412 (plywood, veneered panels, except 4412.99.06 and 4412.99.57), 4414 (wooden frames), 4419 (tableware and kitchenware of wood), and 4420 (wood marquetry, caskets and statuettes). APHIS proposes a further change in the product category slated for phase four enforcement on April 1, 2010 by eliminating composite products and proposing the addition of eight new products out of six chapters of the HTSUS. Phase four enforcement will now cover items classified in the following HTSUS headings and subheadings: 4421 (other articles of wood), 6602 (walking sticks, whips, crops), 8201 (hand tools), 9201 (pianos), 9202 (other stringed instruments), 9302 (revolvers and pistols), 9305.10.20 (parts and accessories for revolvers and pistols), 9401.69 (seats with wood frames), 9504.20 (articles and accessories for billiards), and 9703 (sculptures).
In addition, APHIS is seeking comments on adding new products in a subsequent enforcement phase to begin after September 1, 2010, such as tools, arms and ammunition and furniture. APHIS is also evaluating options for blanket certification programs, and considering whether to allow importers to declare the genus of a wood material in a product, if the species is too difficult to identify. Importers may submit comments to APHIS on or before November 2, 2009.