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05-02-2010 - USDA Lacey Act Phase IV Implemented April 1, 2010

The Lacey Act combats trafficking in “illegal” wildlife, fish, and plants. The 2008 Farm Bill, effective May 22, 2008, amended the Lacey Act by expanding its protection to a broader range of plants and plant products. The Lacey Act now, among other things, makes it unlawful, beginning December 15, 2008, to import certain plants and plant products without an import declaration.

The Lacey Act is being implemented in a series of phases with the most recent, Phase IV, effective April 1, 2010. Each phase is designed to broaden the spectrum of products in which an import declaration is required. An overview of the product categories along with additional information on The Lacey Act may be obtained at: http://www.aphis.usda.gov/plant_health/lacey_act/index.shtml

The Lacey Act makes it illegal to engage in the following:

  1. To trade in any plant that is taken, possessed, transported, or sold in violation of the laws of the United States.
  2. To falsify or submit falsified documents, accounts or records of any plant covered by the act.
  3. To import certain plants or plant products without an import declaration.


It is important to understand that you, as the importer, have the obligation to verify all information provided by the supplier or manufacturer is correct, accurate and legitimate. Penalties for violations of the act include:

a) Forfeiture of product
b) Fines ranging from $100, 000.00 to $500,000.00
c) Prison terms from 1 to 5 years.

A few topics worthy of special consideration include:

1)Product categories via HTS Chapter Headings are not all inclusive. It is imperative that any product containing plant or plant products (I.e. wood) be considered for Lacey Act declaration purposes.
2)The Lacey Act is a U.S. law and will be enforced irrespective of whether or not there is an underlying foreign law, nor one actively enforced in the foreign country. Products in violation of the act may be readily available in foreign countries. Don’t buy them.

Geo. S. Bush & Co., Inc. (GSB) is proficient in understanding the Lacey Act program and requirements as well as our ability to file an electronic declaration. Please think of Geo. S. Bush & Co., Inc. as your Lacey Act /supply-chain management partner.  Several factors need to be pre-determined prior to filing a Lacey act declaration. To ensure your company is compliant with the Lacey Act requirements, please call (503) 228-6501, and/or email: info@geosbush.com.