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.
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:
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?
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.
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.