Wooden furniture is a must for any furniture store. People like wooden furniture because of its ruggedness and aesthetic appeal. However, importing wooden furniture to the United States requires that you comply with regulations established by APHIS and CITES, adhere to the guidelines of the Lacey Act, and obtain specific import permits. Working with an authorized customs broker can help ensure that your wooden furniture imports go smoothly.
In our guide below, we provide an overview of everything you need to know to import wooden furniture to the US. The first standard that APHIS requires you to follow is to disinfect the wood. This is done to prevent foreign pests that travel with wood from disturbing native wildlife. The disinfection of wood can be carried out by heat treating a furnace or by using chemicals on the surface of the wood. Depending on the type of wood in your furniture, you may have to follow the rules that apply under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).
The import of wooden furniture, other wooden objects or wood itself will require you to obtain an import permit for wood and wood products. Obtaining this permission is quite simple - all you have to do is complete the PPQ 585 form and send it to APHIS. You can complete this permit online. After applying for a permit, it will take 30 days to arrive.
Once you have your permit, it will be valid for a total of two years. The packing list works together with the commercial invoice because it contains the same information. That said, don't confuse the packing list with a commercial invoice replacement. The packing list is used only for customs to confirm the cargo you are importing. The Bill of Lading (BOL) is a document that every importer and exporter needs.
If your furniture is damaged, delayed, or lost, you will need to be compensated by the BOL. The BOL will have the tracking number for your shipment. The notice of arrival is sent once a shipment has arrived. However, the notice of arrival is not the same as the launch document. The arrival notice simply tells the recipient that the shipment has arrived and gives them information to go through customs.
Finally, the Security File System for Importers (ISF) must be completed. This form is used for maritime cargo shipments. The deadline for submitting this document is 24 hours before your cargo is loaded onto the ship that will take it to the US. Customs and Border Protection, or CBP, enforces the ISF.
Failure to comply with ISF guidelines will result in sanctions by CBP. According to the CBP, wooden furniture will be tax-free as long as it is imported from a country other than the US. That said, it's still ideal to hire a customs broker to properly sort the furniture for you. Wood can be put on any number of different furniture - therefore, the HTS code assigned to the import must be correct, even if imports of wooden furniture are tax-free in most cases. If you need to find your product classification, use our HTS code search tool. When importing wooden furniture, you should be aware of anti-dumping duties.
When a company is “dumping”, it means that it is exporting products at prices that are much lower than what their real value would normally be - in order to protect their markets, national governments use what are called anti-dumping duties - these are excessively high taxes that will make these products more expensive. The US has anti-dumping duties on wooden bedroom furniture assembled in China. Fortunately, having a customs broker can be just as useful when it comes to anti-dumping duties as it is with regular duties - customs agents have access to Automated Intermediary Interface (ABI) software provided by CBP - with ABI, customs agents can search for HTS codes to determine if there is an anti-dumping duty on an item. China is a very popular country for importing furniture because of its affordability and exceptional quality - China offers a wide selection of furniture designs to choose from - however, Chinese imports take a long time to reach their destination - usually ranging from two weeks up to two months. If you're looking for furniture that has a colorful design and reminds you of the countryside then Mexican furniture is what you're looking for - Mexican furniture is usually hand-painted and has carved wood - Indian furniture also has a lot of beautiful design features - often, its wood is carved by hand - intricate designs are made with high quality craftsmanship. Importing from Mexico and Canada has some unique benefits that importing from India and China doesn't have - on one hand, shipping costs from Mexico or Canada will be much cheaper due to USMCA eliminating or reducing tariffs and taxes on goods in those countries - also due to proximity these countries are close so shipments won't take long periods or pay high costs. We must reiterate that you should consider hiring a customs broker to help you with import - customs agents are authorized by CBP so they can help ensure that your imports go smoothly.