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Softwood Lumber

The U.S.-Canada Softwood Lumber Agreement (SLA 2006), which was signed on September 12, 2006 and took effect on October 12, 2006, expired on October 12, 2015.

The Softwood Lumber Act of 2008 was enacted on June 18, 2008 as section 3301 of The Food Conservation and Energy Act of 2008 (110 P.L. 246; 122 Stat. 1651; 2008 Enacted H.R. 6124; 110 Enacted H.R. 6124), also called the “Farm Bill of 2008.” Questions on softwood lumber importations should be directed to the Office of International Trade, Trade Policy and Programs, Trade Agreements Points of Contact  or email SWL@cbp.dhs.gov.

Softwood Lumber Act Overview

The "Softwood Lumber Declaration Program" is required by the Softwood Lumber Act of 2008 (referred to interchangeably as SLA 2008 or SWL 2008), and affects importations of certain softwood lumber and softwood lumber products imported into the U.S. from any country. The SLA 2008 was to take effect 60 days after the enactment of the legislation. However an additional 30 days for implementation has been added and the data collection required will be effective for importations of certain softwood lumber and softwood lumber products on or after September 18, 2008.

The articles of softwood lumber and softwood lumber products to which the SLA 2008 applies are defined in the Act in section 804(a). Section 804(b) describes those softwood lumber and softwood lumber products excluded from the requirement. The SLA 2008 requires importers of softwood lumber and softwood lumber products subject to the Act to provide on the entry summary three data elements. The three data elements required for each shipment of softwood lumber subject to the Act are:

  • the export price
  • the estimated export charge, if any
  • an importer declaration

Each of these terms, "export price," "estimated export charge" and "importer declaration" is defined in the Act. The export price and estimated export charge, if any charge applies, must always be stated in U.S. dollars.

Export price: All importers of softwood lumber and softwood lumber products that are described in the SLA 2008 must calculate, as specified in section 802(5), and declare the export price on the entry summary.

  • Entry Summary Information: The export price is to be placed in the field directly under box 29 - the HTS number - on each line of the entry summary relevant to softwood lumber or softwood lumber products that are subject to the Act.
  • There will always be an export price in U.S. dollars declared on any imported softwood lumber or softwood lumber products subject to the SLA 2008.
  • There are 9 characters in the export price field.
  • The export price should be preceded by zeros until there are 9 characters in this field.
  • If the imported articles are not subject to the SLA 2008, this and the estimated export charge field described below are left blank.

Estimated export charges: means any tax, charge, or other fee collected by the country from which the softwood lumber or a softwood lumber product, is exported pursuant to an agreement by that country and the U.S. Importers of softwood lumber or softwood lumber products subject to the Act should consult the Department of Commerce's International Trade Administration webpage or the Import Administration's webpage to determine if the country from which the softwood lumber or softwood lumber products were exported has an agreement with the U.S. concerning softwood lumber. See International Trade AdministrationImport Administration

Please note: If the country from which the softwood lumber or softwood lumber products was exported is not party to an agreement with the U.S. concerning softwood lumber, no export charge is reported.

  • Entry Summary Information: the estimated export charge field is located directly underneath box 30 - the gross weight or manifest quantity - on the entry summary, and to the right of the export charge field.
  • There are 12 characters in this field.
  • The estimated export charge, if any applies, will be stated in U.S. dollars.
  • The estimated export charge, if any applies, will be preceded by the Importer declaration as explained below.

Importer Declaration: The "importer declaration" requirement in the SLA 2008 mandates that all importers of softwood lumber or softwood lumber products described in the Act, regardless of country of origin or country of export, must declare that:

  • Entry Summary Information: The importer's declaration shall take the form of a "Y" inserted in the first position in the estimated export charge field which is located directly underneath box 30 - the gross weight or manifest quantity - on the entry summary.
  • There are 12 characters in this field.
  • An importer's declaration and, hence, the "Y" in the estimated export charge field, are required for every entry of softwood lumber or softwood lumber products subject to the Act.
  • That is, if there is any amount in the export price field, the first character in the estimated export charge field should always be a "Y" because an amount in the export price field indicates that the imported articles are subject to the SLA 2008 and an importer declaration regarding the importer's actions in connection with the entry is mandatory.
  • The remaining characters in the estimated export charge field should be filled in with the estimated export charge, if any, in U.S. dollars, and preceded by zeros so that there are 12 characters total in this field.
  • If the imported articles are subject to the SLA 2008 but the country from which they were exported does not impose an export charge, the "Y" should be inserted in the first position in the estimated export charge field as the importer's affirmative declaration with regard to the export price. The remaining characters will be zeros.

The SLA 2008 implementation instructions can be accessed here.

Should you have questions regarding any aspect of the Softwood Lumber Act of 2008, and those questions are not addressed on the SLA 2008 pages, we invite you to submit your query to SWL2008@dhs.gov.

​​​​​​​Softwood Lumber Act of 2008 Implementation Instructions

Background
The Softwood Lumber Act of 2008 (SLA 2008), Title VIII of the Tariff Act of 1930, as added by section 3301 of Title III, Subtitle D, of the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (Public Law 110-246) was enacted June 18 and will be implemented on August 18, 2008. The Act applies to softwood lumber as described that is imported into the U.S. on or after August 18, 2008.

The SLA 2008 applies to shipments of softwood lumber and softwood lumber products, as defined in the SLA 2008, from any country into the United States. The scope of the SLA 2008 is defined in the interim rule. Although specific HTS numbers are listed in the text of the SLA 2008, for purposes of determining if a product is covered by the program, the article descriptions should be used. Please note that the SLA 2008 uses the term "country of export" and defines that term as "the country (including any political subdivision of the country) from which softwood lumber or a softwood lumber product is exported before entering the United States." Country of export is not to be confused with country of origin.

Entry Summary Requirements
Importers must provide the following information for products subject to the SLA 2008 at the time of entry summary filing:

  1. Export price - each importer must provide the export price, expressed in U.S. dollars, on the entry summary at the line level. The export price is fully defined in the interim rule.
  2. Estimated Export charge - each importer must provide the export charge, if any, as calculated by applying the percentage determined and published by Department of Commerce to the export price. Any applicable export charge must be expressed in U.S. dollars and reported on the entry summary with the relevant line.
  3. Importer declaration - each importer must provide a softwood lumber declaration on the electronic entry summary by entering the letter code "Y" on the relevant line of the entry summary. The letter code "Y" represents the importer's declaration to CBP that:
    1. The importer has made inquiry, including seeking appropriate documentation from the exporter and consulting the determinations published by the Department of Commerce; and
    2. To the best of the person's knowledge and belief:
      1. The export price provided is determined in accordance with the definition set forth in the SLA 2008;
      2. The export price provided is consistent with the export price provided on the export permit, if any, granted by the country of export; and
      3. The exporter has paid, or committed to pay, all export charges due in accordance with the volume, export price, and export charge rate or rates, if any.

On the CBP Form 7501 the export price will be indicated directly beneath the HTS number and the "Y" indicator, followed by the estimated export charge, if any, will be directly to the right of the export price (see attachment).

The electronic transmission of the CBP Form 7501, with the importer declaration therein, and any substantiating documentation, are subject to the recordkeeping provisions set forth in part 163 of title 19 to the CFR.

Also, if the importer claims that a shipment of softwood lumber home packages or kits is exempt per section 804(c)(7), the importer is required to retain, and produce upon demand by CBP, the following documentation:

  1. A copy of the appropriate home design, plan, or blueprint matching the customs entry in the United States.
  2. A purchase contract from a retailer of home kits or packages signed by a customs not affiliated with the importer.
  3. A listing of all parts in the package or kit being entered into the United States that conforms to the home design, plan, or blueprint for which such parts are being imported.
  4. If a single contract involved multiple entries, an identification of all the items required to be listed that are included in each individual shipment.

Again, there is no requirement to present physical copies of the softwood lumber home packages and kits documentation to CBP at the time of filing the CBP Form 7501; however, copies, along with any substantiating documentation, must be maintained in accordance with the applicable recordkeeping provisions.

De Minimis Provision
There is no de minimis provision in the SLA 2008. All shipments of softwood lumber products, as defined in the SLA 2008, regardless of value, must comply with these requirements.

Termination of the SLA 2008
The SLA 2008 requirements are applicable for as long as Title VIII of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended, remains in effect.

Other entry requirements may be applicable to certain imports of softwood lumber from Canada. Importers are advised to refer to 19 CFR 12.140 for information regarding applicability and entry requirements.

Currently, the program updates to the Automated Commercial System (ACS) to allow for the electronic transmission of the SLA 2008 requirements have been completed.

New Data Elements Required for Importation of Softwood Lumber Effective August 18, 2008

The Softwood Lumber Act of 2008, (section 3301 of Title III, Subtitle D, of the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008, (Public Law 110-246), commonly called the "Farm Bill"), enacted June 18, 2008, applies to softwood lumber and softwood lumber products described by the Act. The Softwood Lumber Act of 2008 requires the President to establish and maintain a "Softwood Lumber Declaration Program" with respect to the importation of softwood lumber and softwood lumber products as defined by the Softwood Lumber Act Of 2008.

The Softwood Lumber Act of 2008 requirements were to take effect 60 days after the enactment of the legislation, but to permit the trade sufficient time to comply with the requirements in the Softwood Lumber Act of 2008, the act will apply to importations on or after September 18, 2008. Therefore, for importations on or after September 18, 2008, of softwood lumber and softwood lumber products that are within the scope of the Softwood Lumber Act f 2008, importers must comply with the Softwood Lumber Act F 2008 requirements.

The Softwood Lumber Declaration Program requires the President to establish an "electronic record" for importations of softwood lumber and softwood lumber products subject to the Act. The electronic record will consist of:

  • the export price for each shipment of softwood lumber and softwood lumber products calculated as specified by the Softwood Lumber Act of 2008;
  • estimated export charges, if any, applicable to each shipment of softwood lumber and softwood lumber products;
  • a declaration by the importer regarding the export price and export charge, if any.

This information is required for all importations of softwood lumber and softwood lumber products described in section 804 of the Act, regardless of country of export or origin and will be reported on the CBP 7501, entry summary.

The description of the softwood lumber and softwood lumber products subject to the Declaration Program (and those which are excluded) is set out in section 804.

The term "export price" is defined in section 802(5).
The term "export charges" is defined in section 802(4).
The "importer's declaration" is explained in section 804.

Questions about the Softwood Lumber Act of 2008 should be addressed via email to fta@dhs.gov

Agreement of 2006

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