More Flexibility for Penalty Mitigation: CBP Updates Wood Packing Materials Guidelines

January 28, 2020
By Mariana Reisacher

Wood packing

In October 2017, we outlined a new method adopted by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) for issuing penalties on wood packing materials (WPM) violations. This change shifted the five-violation threshold to issuing potential penalties for each violation on unmarked or inappropriately marked materials and infestations.

New Guidelines, New Factors

The CPB has since revised their existing guidelines, allowing importers more flexibility when filing for penalty cancellation. These new guidelines consider factors like proper treatment despite incorrect or nonexistent marking, the number of existing WPM violations relative to the number of transactions completed by the importer in question, and relative time frame separating multiple violations. They will also now consider evidence of immediate action taken to prevent additional WPM violations.

Good News for Responsible Importers

Formerly, the CBP’s mitigation guidelines prohibited reasonable penalty cancellations for infested materials or materials reexported beyond the 72-hour window. Penalty notices equivalent to the full value of the shipment could be issued, with no way for importers to apply for mitigation to a more reasonable amount, if their packing materials violated these criteria. The updated guidelines are expected to make penalty cancellation more predictable, providing a remedy for often surprising and substantial penalty notices for importers.

Despite such improvements, compliance with WPM guidelines is still as important as ever. Click here to read our article regarding getting serious about wood packing materials. For assistance with additional WPM guidelines and making sure your shipments are compliant, contact your Mohawk Global customer service representative.