AMS Softwood Lumber Fee De Minimis Exemption Threshold Remains at 15 MMBF

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The de minimis quantity exemption threshold established under the Softwood Lumber Research and Promotion Order remains at 15 million board feet (MMBF), for both importers and domestic manufacturers. A new analysis was done as the result of a Federal Court decision, but the 15 MMBF threshold was found to be reasonable and appropriate.

Currently this fee is not collected by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), but is invoiced quarterly directly by the Softwood Lumber Board, under the oversight of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS).

The Softwood Lumber Research and Promotion Program took effect in August 2011, with assessment collection beginning in January 2012.

The fee is assessed at a rate of $0.35 per thousand board feet ($0.1483 per cubic centimeter) on imports of softwood lumber products of HTS Sub Headings 4407.10.01, 4409.10.05, 4409.10.10, 4409.10.20, 4409.10.90, and 4418.90.25.

Importers of less than 15 million board feet of softwood lumber in a fiscal year are exempt from paying assessments, but must apply to the Board for an annual certificate of exemption prior to the start of the fiscal year. If not applied for, they may receive a refund of fees paid.

Importers of more than 15 MMBF per fiscal year are exempt from paying assessments on their first 15 MMBF of softwood lumber imported during that fiscal year.

If not paid timely, interest and a late payment charge accrue.

There are also exemptions for softwood which is certified organic under an approved National Organic Program (NOP), with a separate exemption form to be completed.

Revenue generated by these assessments is used to finance research and promotion programs designed to increase consumer demand for softwood lumber in the U.S. and international markets.

If you have any questions regarding the de minimis threshold for imported softwood lumber, Livingston can help! Please contact either your Livingston account manager or our regulatory affairs group at usregaffairs@livingstonintl.com.