Pacific Southwest Region
California, Nevada and Klamath Basin

Service Offers New Fee Exemption Program for Small Businesses

Oct 25, 2012

October 15, 2012
Contact: Claire Cassel
703-358-2357
claire_cassel@fws.gov

 

Service Offers New Fee Exemption Program for Small Businesses
Program reduces undue burden on companies importing/exporting qualifying wildlife products.

In order to make it easier for businesses in the United States to import and export certain types of legal wildlife products, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has created a new program that waives inspection fees for qualifying small, low value shipments of these products. The program does not apply to companies that import or export live wildlife.

“Our mission is to ensure that wildlife trade is legal and sustainable, not to make that trade economically unviable,” said U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe. “That’s why we’re acting to address fees that may be making it difficult for some U.S. businesses to import small quantities of wildlife parts and products or compete for customers in other countries who buy such products.”

The program, which will be announced in an interim rule in the Federal Register on October 26, 2012, covers trade in merchandise made from readily available species that are not of concern from a conservation perspective.  It waives the $93 base inspection fee for imports and exports processed at one of the Service’s 18 designated ports.

To qualify, a business must hold a valid wildlife import/export license issued by the Service and trade exclusively in wildlife products made from species that are not protected under any federal wildlife law.  Each shipment may contain no more than 25 wildlife items and must be valued at no more than $5,000.

The United States is one of the world’s largest markets for wildlife and wildlife products, and many products using wildlife are also manufactured here for export. Manufactured products (such as boots, shoes, purses, jewelry, caviar, and meats) and less “processed” wildlife items (such as hunting trophies, feathers, furs, skins, raw coral, and shells) are commonly shipped through designated U.S. ports of entry.

The Fish and Wildlife Service’s wildlife inspectors are the nation’s front-line defense against the illegal wildlife trade — a criminal enterprise that threatens species worldwide. These professional import-export control officers ensure that wildlife shipments comply with U.S. and international wildlife protection laws.

Stationed at the Nation’s major international airports, ocean ports, and border crossings, wildlife inspectors monitor an annual trade worth more than $2 billion. They make sure that wildlife imports and exports are accompanied by the required permits and licenses and verify that the contents of shipments match the items listed on declaration forms. In order to support this program, the Service charges inspection fees to companies that import and export wildlife and wildlife products.

To be accepted in the fee exemption program, a business must certify that all of its shipments will meet the program’s criteria for type of wildlife, quantity, and value.  Companies that have had more than two shipments that were refused clearance during the past 5 years are not
eligible.  Companies must possess and maintain a “clean” import/export history with respect to civil or criminal penalties for any wildlife import/export violation.

Participating businesses must use the Service’s online electronicimport/export declaration system (e-Decs) to declare their shipments and obtain Service clearance. Businesses that are exempted from paying base designated port inspection fees will still be required to pay application fees associated with obtaining import/export licenses and non-designated port exception permits as well as fees charged for inspections at non-designated ports and for those conducted outside of normal business hours.

For more information on the fee exemption program, or for general information on international trade in wildlife and wildlife products, visit http://www.fws.gov/le/businesses.html .