The 2008 Lacey Act amendments are the most important U.S. policy initiative to reduce global illegal logging and its associated trade in recent years. They make it illegal to trade plants and plant products - including wood, pulp and paper - harvested or traded in violation of the laws of a foreign country. The Lacey Act also requires importers to file a declaration naming the country of harvest and the genus and species of plants contained in the products, although the declaration requirement has yet to be phased in for composite wood products or for pulp and paper.
AF&PA is a strong proponent of international efforts to suppress illegal logging, because trade in illegally sourced fiber is a serious detriment to the industry’s sustainability, the environment and the global economy. AF&PA supports language in the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement the U.S. negotiated with 11 other countries in the Asia-Pacific region that calls for strong laws against illegal logging and associated trade and their enforcement. An AF&PA commissioned study estimated that illegal logging costs the U.S. forest products industry some $1 billion annually in lost export opportunities and depressed U.S. wood prices.
AF&PA is working closely with a broad consensus coalition of businesses, conservation groups and labor organizations that are calling on federal agencies to ensure successful implementation of the law. AF&PA supports adequate funding for the implementation of the Lacey Act and the phase-in of the declaration requirement to imports of composite wood products and pulp and paper.
Improvements to Lacey Act implementation include administrative clarification that:
- the amendments do not apply to products imported or manufactured prior to May 2008;
- the Lacey Act should not be enforced against individual consumers; and
- the Lacey Act should provide a de minimis exemption in the case of a mill that cannot guarantee complete knowledge of the mix of plant species.
AF&PA opposes legislative changes to the Lacey Act that would undermine the intent and effectiveness of the 2008 amendments by:
- limiting the application of the import declaration requirement to “solid wood,” excluding pulp, paper and composite wood imports from the key requirement of the Lacey Act; and
- eliminating the Lacey Act’s application to imports of forest products that were harvested, processed or traded in violation of foreign laws.
AF&PA continues to play a constructive role in the process, exploring with member companies and coalition partners potential areas for discussion with policymakers.