WildlifeMargrit: Important info for both consumer and business owner alike
What do laws on Wall Street financial reform, child labor, human trafficking, wildlife protection, jobs promotion, and food and product safety all have in common? Despite separate enforcing agencies and very different subject matter, they are all part of an ever-growing body of federal, state and municipal laws that are normally thought of as addressing social and safety concerns but increasingly affect companies’ supply chains. These laws include
restrictions of certain imports or sales to the government;
extensive certification, inspection and monitoring requirements; and
requirements to publicly disclose compliance with the above on company websites or financial statements.
These laws can apply to companies all the way down the supply chain to the providers of parts and material inputs. Companies need to be aware of these new and untraditional supply chain requirements, some of which are still evolving and being implemented. Failure to do so can lead to fines, seizures, lost business, poor public relations, civil and even criminal liability. Below, we briefly highlight several laws that can have unexpected consequences on import and supply chain compliance.
>>> Wildlife Protection <<<
The Lacey Act wildlife protection statute was enacted in 1900 to combat interstate trafficking of protected wildlife, fish and plants. The Act was subsequently amended to apply to transportation across international borders and logging. The 2008 Farm Bill amended the Lacey Act by expanding its protection to a broader range of plants and plant products (including many wood products) and made it unlawful to import, export, transport, sell or purchase in interstate or foreign commerce any plant product “taken, possessed, transported, or sold” in violation of U.S. federal or state law, Indian Tribe law, or any foreign law that protects plants. The Lacey Act also makes it unlawful to import certain plant products without an import declaration that includes the genus and species of each plant product. Violations can result in civil or criminal penalties, including prison and forfeiture of the imported product.
The breadth of companies covered by the new Lacey Act provisions is made clear by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) raid of Gibson Guitars of Nashville, Tennessee in November 2009. FWS had received information that Gibson was importing illegally harvested rosewood and ebony fingerboard blanks from India, where laws restrict the thickness of wood products that may be exported. FWS agents seized wood, guitars, computers and electronic files. The case is still pending. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service is currently considering several amendments to these Lacey Act provisions, including revisions related to the declaration requirement, how to deal with composite plant materials and a de minimis exception (e.g., for packaging materials).