USA MARKET ACCESS REQUIREMENTS FOR WOOD
To sell your wood (products) on the American market, you need to comply with American market access requirements. These requirements can vary from national legislation to common buyer preferences.
The US Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) regulates the import of wood (products) into the USA. The most important legislation you must comply with is the Lacey Act. This prohibits trafficking in “illegal” wildlife, fish and plants. Wood (products) like plywood, veneer and furniture making formal customs entry into the USA require declaration, including products with a CITES license.
To eliminate the risk of non-native pests and diseases, APHIS also requires wood (products) to undergo heat or chemical treatment. The Federal Hazardous Substances Act requires precautionary labelling on hazardous products. If necessary, it enables a ban on products.
Another important requirement is product safety. In the USA, the Consumer Product Safety Act and Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act which serve to protect the American public from unsafe consumer products.
Wood packaging material entering the USA must be heat-treated or fumigated. Packaging made from plywood or masonite veneer is exempt from this legislation.
In addition to legislation, American buyers often have non-legal requirements. Especially regarding sustainability and social responsibility. Meeting these additional requirements isn’t mandatory, but can increase your chances on the market considerably.
A common additional requirement is sustainable forest management. The most widely used scheme for certification of tropical timber forests is FSC.
To address social and environmental issues, American companies may require Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) policies. These generally include health and safety, business ethics and social responsibility requirements. Your buyer can require you to comply with their company’s CSR-policy, or adhere to common industry codes like ISO14001 or SA8000.
Niche market requirements
If you can produce Fair Trade products this niche market may provide interesting opportunities. You need to establish fair, reliable and predictable contract arrangements along the entire supply chain and obtain certification, like WFTO or FLO.