Issue 82, December 16, 2008
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service published a final rule in the Federal Register on December 9, 2008 to clarify when an export/import license is required, how to apply for an export/import license, license requirement exemptions and to announce changes in inspection fees. The final rule is effective on January 8, 2009.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is increasing inspection fees for import and export of wildlife, and wildlife products and is also adding new fees for certain types of shipments as well as eliminating some exemptions from import/export license and inspection fee requirements. The current fee structure dates back to 1996.
The new fee schedule gradually raises fees over the next four years which allows them to gradually adjust to increased costs thru 2012. The flat rate "base" inspection fee for a commercial shipment inspected at a designated port (including ports that function as "designated" for particular types of shipments) during normal business hours will increase from $55 to $87 in 2009. It will gradually increase yearly and reach $93 in 2012. The 2009 base inspection fee for all shipments imported or exported at other ports will be $136. This fee will also gradually increase each year to reach $145 in 2012. All importers and exporters using ports where Service inspectors are not stationed will also pay travel, transportation, and per diem costs associated with inspection of their shipments.
Overtime fees are also provided for under the new fee structure when shipments are inspected outside of normal business hours.
Live wildlife or protected special will also be charged a special "premium" fee in addition to the appropriate base inspection fee. The premium fees will also apply to some non-commercial imports and exports involving live specimens or protected species. The premium fees will apply for shipments moving by air, ocean, rail or truck cargo at designated ports and for any import or export of live or protected wildlife at other ports. In 2009, a $37.00 premium fee will be collected. A separate $37 premium fee will be charged for imports or exports of species protected under Federal law when a permit is required. Such wildlife includes federally listed endangered or threatened species, migratory birds, marine mammals, injurious species, and wildlife protected under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species. If a shipment contains both live wildlife and species protected under Federal law, the importer or exporter will pay two premium fees. Premium fees will increase each year, rising from $37 in 2009 to $93 in 2012.
The Service is also removing some exemptions that waived license and/or fee requirements for specific businesses. Under the new rules, circuses and animal shows and those dealing in furs from certain captive-bred species must obtain a Service import/export license and pay inspection fees. Exports of captive-bred bison, emu, and ostrich meat and aquacultured sturgeon food items will no longer be exempt from inspection fees.
Fish and Wildlife highly recommends that importers/exports contact their wildlife inspectors about importing and exporting procedures and requirements before importing or exporting wildlife. Wildlife inspectors are stationed at numerous ports throughout the country. You can find contact information for wildlife inspectors on the Fish and Wildlife Web site at: http://www.fws.gov/le/ImpExp/inspectors.htm. In addition, the Service has a telephone hotline that is staffed Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. through 8 p.m. Eastern time, to provide assistance for any questions you may have regarding importing and exporting wildlife, at 1-800-344-WILD.
Paul Vroman, DHL Global Forwarding