How To Import Furniture Into The US

Your how-to guide on furniture imports into the US

If you are importing wood furniture, wood products, manufactured wood products, tables, beds, or wardrobes into the US you must know what government parties are involved, what regulations must be followed, and the fundamental aspects of furniture imports.

Parties Involved:

  • Customs and Border Protection (CBP)
  • US Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA APHIS)
  • Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
  • US International Trade Commission (USITC)
  • Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
  • Department of Transportation (DOT)
  • Customs Broker
  • Carrier

Main Regulations:

  • When importing furniture into the US you will need to provide:
    1) What the item is: chair, couch, table, bookshelf etc.
    2) What the item is made of: wood, metal, glass, plastic etc.
    3) The intended use of the furniture: Office, Dining, Kitchen, Bedroom etc.
    4) The country of manufacture
  • Wooden chairs (not upholstered) classified under 9401.69, require a USDA APHIS Lacey Act Declaration
  • Wooden furniture made up from composite wood materials, require an EPA Toxic Substance Control Act (TSCA) declaration that certifies the composite wood materials are compliant with Title VI Section 13, and the furniture itself must be marked that it is in compliance.
  • Seats for motor vehicles require a DOT Vehicle Equipment declaration form and the seat itself, if for on-road use, must be marked with a certification that it complies with the US DOT regulations.
  • Special purpose furniture such as dentists, barbers, or similar chairs, hospital beds, and other medical surgical, dental and veterinary furniture must comply with FDA regulations.
  • The USITC has issued AD/CVD orders on certain furniture manufactured in China. The AD/CVD duty rates can be as high as 251.64% for wooden cabinets and vanities and up to 216.01% on wooden bedroom furniture. This will require a special import bond.

Import Fundamentals:

  • You will be acting as the Importer of Record. Therefore, you are the party ultimately responsible for the accuracy and completeness of the import declaration, as well as the payment of applicable duties and taxes into the US.
  • Duty and tax must be paid upon importation into the US.
  • The rate of duty is determined by the tariff of the commodity being imported, the value of the goods and, the origin of the goods.
  • Certain import documentation is required to be presented to the border services officer at the port of entry.
  • Your import may be subject to a customs review, inspection or audit prior to, at the time of, or after the importation. Additional fees may be levied by the Government of the US for these services.
  • You are required to keep your import records for five years following the date of import and can be audited by Customs at any point during this time.

FAQ: Furniture Imports

Why Do You Need To Know What Room The Furniture Is To Be Used In?

CBP needs to know which room the furniture will be used in as they assign the tariff classification based on the most common intended use for the furniture. Classifications are broken down into different categories, for instance, what material the goods are made of: wood, metal, glass, plastic etc, and then further broken down by intended use: office, household, kitchen, dining, bedroom, indoor, outdoor, upholstered or not etc.

Why Is The Lacey Act Form Required For Un-upholstered Wood Chairs And Not For Upholstered Wood Framed Chairs?

The Lacey act is used to protect endangered tropical hardwoods among other endangered species. Generally speaking, un-upholstered wood chairs are bought for the beauty of the wood from which they are made, for example you wouldn’t cover up Brazillian Rosewood with upholstery. This is why the Lacey Act Declaration is only required on un-upholstered wood chairs.

Why Do I Need A TSCA Declaration? How Do I Know If It Complies?

You only need a TSCA Declaration for furniture that is made up of composite wood such as veneers, particle board, mdf and certain hardwood plywood. Composite wood articles are made up of particles bound together using adhesives or resins that may contain formaldehyde which has been found to have a negative effect on health. All articles containing composite wood materials are required to be marked that they have been manufactured in compliance with Title VI of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). If the goods you are importing are made of composite wood you will need to check with the seller/manufacturer to ensure that the goods are marked appropriately for import, so that you can complete the TSCA Declaration.

What Are Some Examples Of Endangered Woods?

Rosewood from Brazil, Amazon, India, and Honduras
Teak from Burma, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Indonesia, Ecuador, Costa Rica, and Africa
Wenge from West Africa
Zebra Wood from Nigeria and West Africa
Utile from Ivory Coast and Chana
Ramin from Malaysia, Borneo, Indonesia, Sumatra, Philippines, and Fiji
African Mahogany
True Mahogany from America and Honduras
Amaranth or Purpleheart from Brazil, Amazon, Mexico, Central America
Paduak from Africa, Thailand, and Andaman Is.
Obeche (Samba, African Whitewood) from West Central Africa
Nyotah from Malaysia and SE AsiaMerbau from Meco, Central and South America, Indonesia
Lauan from Southeast Asia
Kapur from Southeast Asia, Sumatra, Borneo, Sarawak
Jelutong from Indonesia and Malaysia
Jatoba from Central and South America, and West Indies
Iroko from Ivory Coast, Liberia, and Ghana)
Ipe from Mexico, Central and South America)
Greenheart beeberoe from British Guyana and West Indies
Ebony from West Africa, India, and Sri Lanka
Dakua Makade (Fiji Birch)
Cordia from Mexico, Central and South America, and Fiji
Cocobolo from Mexico, Central America, and Columbia
Spanish Cedar Cedro from Tropical America from S Mexico, and Northern Argentina
Balsa from Ecuador, and Latin America
Aplitong from Malaysia, Thailand Burma, and Philippines
Andiroba from West Indies, Central America, and Brazil

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