Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Sleeping Giant Awakens - Has First Meal!

With so much focus and worry over the potential ISF penalties set to become effective in 2010, many importers may have forgotten about the Lacey Act. Well, the sleeping giant awakened with a ravenous appetite, which it promptly satisfied by taking a bite out of an importer in Tennessee.

Administered by the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), the Lacey Act combats trafficking in “illegal” wildlife, fish and plants. The Lacey Act requires submission of a
declaration at the time of import for a wide variety of products such as live plants, lumber, paper, products containing plant material such as furniture, tools, sporting goods, printed matter, musical instruments and textiles. Importers are required to report the species of plant/wood, value, quantity and country of origin.

The sleeping giant (U.S. Fish & Wildlife) sunk its teeth into a manufacturer in Nashville, TN for its first known meal. According to press reports, federal officials were looking for evidence that the company is using illegally harvested wood imported from Madagascar, which is prohibited under the Lacey Act. FWS agents seized wood, products, computers and electronic files. The company is known for its environmental sustainability efforts and stated that it is fully cooperating with the Fish & Wildlife officials.

Penalties for violations of the Lacey Act range from forfeiture of goods to fines of up to $500,000. If the company or individual is found to have knowingly engaged in the trade of illegally sourced wood, prison time could be imposed.

Although it is early in the investigation, this should be a wake up call for all importers concerning the importance of maintaining, reviewing and verifying the sourcing arrangements involving products regulated by the Lacey Act. The giant may be full from that first feast, but it will soon be ready for another meal. Don’t let it feast on your company. Click
HERE to learn more about the Lacey Act requirements.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is a clever and unique approach to a "gigantic" topic!