Wooden Handicrafts

Wooden Handicrafts

APHIS published a final rule in 2012 that defined the requirements for importing wooden handicrafts from China.  This rule went into effect April 30, 2012.  Since then, we have received numerous inquiries about the import requirements for wooden handicrafts from China. Answers to the most frequently asked questions are provided below.

  • The United States is free from many agricultural pests and diseases that could harm our Nation’s agricultural and natural resources (such as forests), causing millions of dollars in damage. To keep those pests and diseases out of our country, APHIS prohibits or restricts the entry of certain agricultural products from abroad, including meats, fruits, vegetables, plants, soil, seeds, herbal medicines, and other plant-based items, including wooden handicrafts.
  • From 2002 to 2005, APHIS issued more than 300 emergency action notices and conducted national recalls to remove pest infested Chinese-origin wooden handicrafts from the U.S. marketplace. In 2012, APHIS published a final rule that defined the requirements for importing wooden handicrafts from China, including processing provisions and treatments (such as fumigation). Minimal processing, such as cleaning to remove soil, twigs, or leaves; rough sawing; or rough shaping to give a rustic appearance are not enough to eliminate wood boring pests.
  • Under 7CFR 319.40, handicrafts include the following products where wood is present:
    • Carvings
    • Baskets
    • Boxes
    • Bird houses
    • Rustic garden and lawn/patio furniture
    • Potpourri
    • Artificial trees (i.e., artificial Ficus trees)
    • Trellis towers
    • Garden fencing and edging
    • Picture frames
    • Home holiday decorations
    • Pens
    • Pencils
    • Wooden decorative collectibles
    • Wooden kitchenware
    • Other items composed of wood

  • What should I do if my product is not on this list?
    • Please visit the ePermits page or call (877) 770-5990 to find out if you need a permit and other documents to import your wood product.
  • Please visit the ePermits page or call (877) 770-5990 to find out if you need a permit and other documents to import your wood product.
  • Please visit the ePermits page or call (877) 770-5990 to find out if you need a permit and other documents to import your wood product.
  • Check the list of Approved Wooden Handicraft Manufacturers to see if the handicraft you wish to import is produced by an approved manufacturer. Approved manufacturers produce wooden handicrafts according to specifications [agreed to by the United States and China] that are designed to eliminate the presence of pests, such as wood-boring beetles, in their products. This list is maintained by the government of China as part of an agreement with the United States. 
  • If your manufacturer is listed [name, address, and ZMC number], you may proceed to the ePermits website and apply for an import permit.  Requirements for importing your product will be listed on your permit.
  • USDA APHIS may need to ask questions about your product.  Please be prepared to answer as the following:
  • USDA APHIS recommends either finding an approved manufacturer on the list or negotiating with your manufacturer to meet the requirements so that the government of China may add them to the list. For information about how to get on the approved manufacturer list, please see: Manufacturer Requirements [excerpt from the Working Specification of Inspection and Quarantine Management for Wooden Handicrafts Exported to the U.S.]
  • Manufacturers are NOT considered approved until they have been added to the List of Approved Manufacturers and the government of China has transmitted an updated list to USDA APHIS.
    • USDA APHIS will post updates to the List of Approved Manufacturers as soon as possible.
    • DO NOT purchase products from a manufacturer on speculation that they will be added to the list.
  • Even if the product has been machined smooth, we recommend applying for a permit through the ePermits system.  An APHIS Permits Specialist will review your request and determine whether you need a permit.  If the product does not require a permit, we will issue you a Letter of No Permit Required which will facilitate the movement of your wooden handicraft through the U.S. port of entry.
  • To help make that determination, we may need to ask questions about your product.  Please be prepared to answer the following:
    • What wood species is in your product?
    • Are the wooden components greater than one centimeter in diameter?
    • Does your product have bark on it?
  • No. Wooden handicrafts from China must be treated in China. Untreated wooden handicrafts from China are NOT COMPLIANT with APHIS requirements and could result in fines, penalties, and seizure of the commodity.
  • When your commodity arrives, examine the pieces for signs of wood boring pests. The signs include:
    • Small piles of sawdust in and around the product
    • Unusual holes in your product
    • The product is unusually light for its size
    • The product is unusually fragile, or parts break off easily
  • If you observe any of these signs, please contact your State Plant Health Director immediately.
  • Please contact your State Plant Health Director immediately.  The State Plant Health Director (or designee) will discuss your situation with you and provide instructions on how to safeguard the product until APHIS personnel can examine it and determine next steps.
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