Importing Timber or Timber Products – Timber Due Diligence

Importing Timber ProductsIs your business involved in importing timber or importing timber products?  If so, it’s important that you understand the rules, regulations and due diligence requirements in place to prevent the import of illegally logged timber and timber products.

The Australia Government has passed the Illegal Logging Prohibition Act 2012. The Act criminalises the importation into Australia of illegally logged timber and any product made from illegally logged timber as well as the processing of domestic raw logs which have been illegally logged. A maximum penalty $63,000.00 applies where they are found to have imported or processed illegally logged timber and done so knowingly, intentionally or recklessly. With the conclusion of the Reforming Illegal Logging regulation, the Department will end the existing ‘soft-start’ compliance period on the 1st January 2018.

The onus is on the importer to exercise due diligence when sourcing timber or paper products to ensure that you are not importing products that are sourced from illegally logged timber. As from the 1st January 2018, Customs Brokers will again have to answer a community protection question relating to timber products subject to this legislation, which reads: HAS THE IMPORTER COMPLIED WITH THE DUE DILIGENCE REQUIREMENTS OF THE ILLEGAL LOGGING PROHIBITION ACT 2012 AND ASSOCIATED REGULATIONS? (IF PRODUCT IS EXEMPT OR DOES NOT CONTAIN TIMBER, ANSWER YES). In order for us to answer YES to this question, we require importers to complete a declaration on their company letterhead and list the HS codes (we can assist you with these codes) and supplier’s details for your shipments that you have undergone your due diligence process. Please note that if we answers NO to this question, you may be subject to penalty action.

The tariff headings subject to the Illegal Logging Legislation are:

Chapter 44

  • 44.03 Wood in rough
  • 44.07 Wood sawn or chipped lengthwise
  • 44.08 Sheets of veneering
  • 44.09 Continuously shaped wood
  • 44.10 Particleboard
  • 44.11 Fibreboard of wood
  • 44.12 Plywood
  • 44.13 Densified wood
  • 44.14 Wooden frames
  • 44.16 Casks, barrels
  • 44.18 Builders’ joinery, doors

Chapter 47

  • 47.01 Mechanical wood pulp
  • 47.02 Chemical wood pulp, dissolving grad
  • 47.03 Chemical wood pulp, soda or sulpha
  • 47.04 Chemical wood pulp, sulphite
  • 47.05 Mechanical or chemical wood pulp

Chapter 48

  • 48.01 Newsprint
  • 48.02 Uncoated writing paper
  • 48.03 Toilet or facial tissue
  • 48.04 Uncoated kraft paper and paperboard
  • 48.05 Other uncoated paper and paperboard
  • 48.06 Glazed/translucent papers
  • 48.07 Composite paper and paperboard
  • 48.08 Corrugated paper and paperboard
  • 48.09 Carbon and self-copy paper
  • 48.10 Coated paper and paperboard
  • 48.11 Paper products coated/surfaced
  • 48.13 Cigarette paper
  • 48.16 Carbon and self-copy paper (other than 48.09)
  • 48.17 Envelopes, letter cards
  • 48.18 Toilet paper, tissues, serviettes48.19 Cartons, boxes made of paper
  • 48.20 Paper booklets
  • 48.21 Paper labels
  • 48.23 Other paper

Chapter 94

  • 94.01 Seats
  • 94.03 Other furniture
  • 94.06 Prefabricated buildings

Exemptions to the Illegal Logging Legislation:

  • Product that is made from recycled material, such as waste paper that has been converted to newsprint or copy paper
  • Any content of a product that is made of recycled material – which means if you import copy paper that is 50% recycled, you would need to conduct due diligence on the percentage that is not recycled.
  • A product imported into Australia as part of a consignment where the combined value of the regulated products in the consignment does not exceed A$1000.00. For example, if an importer brings in a shipping container with goods worth A$8000.0, and in the container there is A$950.00 worth of regulated timber product, the importer will not need to undertake due diligence on that import.
  • Packaging material used to support, protect, or carry another product.

Importers must seek to obtain information about the wood, pulp or paper products prior to importing into Australia. The type of information you must endeavour to access and gather includes:

  • the country of harvest, the region within the country and the forest harvesting unit details;
  • he country in which the product was manufactured;
  • a description of the regulated timber product, including:
  • the type and trade name of the product; and
  • the common name, genus, or scientific name of the tree from which the timber is derived;
  • quantity of product;
  • the name, address, trading name, business and company identification numbers (if any) of the product’s supplier;
  • information required to use a Timber Legality Framework or Country Specific Guideline to inform the risk assessment (where relevant);
    • evidence the product has not been illegally harvested, which would include consideration of: whether the harvesting of the species of tree (from which the timber in the product is derived) is prohibited where the timber has been harvested; and
    • if the harvesting of the timber in the place is authorised by legislation in the place of harvest (including regulations)—whether the requirements of the legislation have been met for the harvesting of the timber; and
    • if payment is required for the right to harvest the timber and whether that payment has been made; and
    • if a person has legal rights of use and tenure in relation to the place in which the timber is harvested—whether the harvest of the timber is inconsistent with the law establishing or protecting those rights.

This information can be gathered via a variety of methods including emails, web research, phone calls or on-site visits.  For more Information please visit the following websites:

http://timberduediligence.com.au 

http://www.agriculture.gov.au/forestry/policies/illegal-logging/information-importers

http://www.agriculture.gov.au/forestry/policies/illegal-logging/information-importers/guidance-for-importers#risk-mitigation

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