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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 Administration, Import 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.

Last modified: 
October 10, 2017
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