Importers bringing items into the United States from other countries have many regulations with which to comply. Knowing their items must pass the watchful eyes of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection should evoke a sense of caution about the types of cargo they bring across the Florida border. However, it is not only the contents of the cargo that place a shipment at risk of customs seizures.
Packing materials must also meet the rigid standards of the CBP, especially wood packing materials, such as pallets, crates and skids. These items must undergo a specific treatment process to ensure they do not contain the larvae of certain invasive and dangerous insects that made cause damage to the environment. Wood packing materials must carry International Plant Protection Convention 15 stamps to indicate they have received the appropriate pest treatment.
A recent example
Last month, the CBP confiscated a shipment of gum rosin from Brazil and cargo containing lumber with bark imported from Suriname. Both shipments had wood packaging materials, but none of the containers carried the correct IPPC15 stamps. The stamps must have an approved design and be visible on the outside of the shipment container. Because this cargo did not comply with these rules, the CBP agents placed them in containers and returned them to their countries of origin.
The negative consequences for the importer may be numerous. It is possible that the return of these materials may result in costly problems for the importer’s business. Additionally, they may face fines and other penalties related to the alleged non-compliance with customs regulations.