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Importing Wood Furniture Into the U.S.

If you are importing wood furniture into the United States, you should be aware of these guidelines and regulations.

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If you’d like to import wooden furniture – for personal use or resale – you should know there are rules regarding importing wood, designed to protect the country against invasive species and the world against illegal logging.

APHIS Regulations

The US Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) requires all wood entering the country to undergo certain sanitizing procedures in order to prevent non-native pests from disturbing indigenous wildlife.

APHIS recommends two treatment options for wood and wood products: Heat treatment, using a kiln or microwave energy dryer, or chemical treatment, which involves using a surface pesticide, preservative, or methyl bromide fumigation.

To learn more about the treatment process and apply to receive the appropriate form for documenting it, the “Timber and Timber Products Import Permit,” visit APHIS.

CITES Requirements

If the wood used in the furniture you’re importing is listed under regulations pertaining to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), it’s subject to some (or all) of the following requirements:

  • A general permit issued by the USDA (valid for two years)
  • Certificates issued by the representative of CITES in the country where the wood was harvested, asserting doing so was not detrimental to the survival of that species and that the goods in question were lawfully obtained.
  • Certificates issued by the CITES representative in the US.
  • Arrival at a US port equipped to handle shipments of CITES-listed species.

Lacey Act

In addition, under the Lacey Act, all wood products need to be declared to APHIS with form PPQ 505. This will require filing of the scientific type (genus and species) and origin of the wood for APHIS’ acknowledgement, alongside the rest of the importing paperwork needed.

Classification and Duties

Next you need to calculate the duty assessed on your goods using the Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS), the master list classifying all types of goods and detailing the taxes to be levied on each category. Furniture in general (including wood furniture) falls mostly under Chapter 94, but the more specific subheading depends on the type. With your HTS code and country of origin in hand, you can estimate the appropriate duty.

Anti-Dumping Duties

Under the Tariff Act of 1930, US companies can petition the US government to place tariffs on goods from competing countries that they feel are receiving subsidies or other contributions from their state, allowing them to be sold at less than fair value, or “dumped,” on the US market. Most wooden bedroom furniture from China is subject to anti-dumping duties, but there are quirky exceptions to what is or isn’t covered — wooden headboards and nightstands are subject to extra duties, for example, but not mattresses or tables (more info on what’s covered here). These duties are levied on a supplier basis to balance out the subsidies that they are granted by the government.

Other Customs Fees

In addition to general and anti-dumping duties, there are two fees that apply to all shipments entering US domestic ports: the Harbor Maintenance Fee (HMF) and Merchandise Processing Fee (MPF).

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