USDA TURNS UP HEAT ON BIGLEAF MAHOGANY IMPORTS
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service will not accept entry of bigleaf mahogany imports that have been held at U.S. ports for more than 180 days or more, and for which Brazil has not declared legal status.
Bigleaf mahogany is protected under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).
The U.S. Interior Department’s Fish and Wildlife Service is responsible for implementing CITES in the United States. APHIS is responsible for enforcing CITES as it relates to plants and plant products on behalf of Fish and Wildlife.
As part of its enforcement, APHIS checks the validity of CITES permits when there is reason to suspect that a permit does not comply with regulations and norms of CITES. The agency also has authority to take regulatory action against firms that violate the convention.
On Feb. 8, 2002, APHIS began holding Brazilian mahogany shipments at U.S. ports, pending a determination by Brazilian authorities that the export permits accompanying the shipments were valid and the wood was legally acquired.
“The United States worked in close consultation with Brazilian authorities regarding the legal status of the shipments,” APHIS said. “Since then, Brazilian authorities have confirmed the legality of 37 full shipments, and two partial shipments of bigleaf mahogany.”
“Brazil has not provided similar information on 10 other shipments of bigleaf mahogany which have been held at U.S. ports for more than 180 days,” the agency said.