29 Sep 2017

Customs Cracks Down on Wood Packing Materials

Effective November 1st, 2017, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will begin penalizing any documented violations of wood packing materials regulations, eliminating its previous mandate allowing up to five violations prior to taking action. Each violation will result in a penalty and the annual reset of violations has been eliminated.

Dangers of Untreated WPM

The introduction of exotic wood pests can lead to serious environmental impact if preventative measures are not put in place:

  • Detrimental ecological impact
    • Emerald Ash Borer
      • This beetle is native to northeastern Asia and was introduced to the U.S. in the 1990s by way of Michigan.
      • Causing slow extinction of ash trees, significant to U.S. lumber industry.
    • Damage to domestic and global lumber, fruit, and nut industries
      • Reduction in trade and damage to harvests.
    • Expensive and fruitless extermination efforts
      • Extermination has yielded few positive outcomes.

Changes in Compliance

The change will improve compliance with requirements for non-exempt WPM that have been effective since 2005. Non-exempt materials include crates, boxes, and wood used to support cargo.

Wood packing materials must be heat treated or fumigated with methyl bromide in the place of origin to ensure that harmful pests are destroyed.

Per usual, there must be visible and legible markings certifying treatment of WPM; these markings must be approved by the International Plant Protection Convention under its appropriate regulation.

Any WPM of foreign origin without correct and compliant markings or infested with timber pests is deemed untreated and must be exported promptly. Parties responsible for the violation must obey the emergency action stipulations and are responsible for any and all costs associated with exports.

CBP Guidance

As trade industry members, you are encouraged to educate your supply chains about ISPM 15 requirements and follow updates as the effective deadline approaches.

AUTHOR: Cityana Demase, Compliance Specialist Intern