US Softwood Lumber Assessment Fee Increasing on April 1st, 2021

The Softwood Lumber Board announced on February 25th that the softwood lumber assessment fee and calculation thereof, is set to change on April 1st, 2021 on all softwood lumber imports into the US from abroad.

Softwood lumber is defined as wood from gymnosperm trees such as Pine, Spruce, Douglas Fir Larch, Western Hemlock, Western Red Cedar and Yew.

What Is The Softwood Lumber Board?

The softwood research and promotion program operates as the Softwood Lumber Board and through executive order is financed by an assessment on softwood lumber. The fee has been set at .35 cents per thousand board feet since it began in 2011.

The board reported an annual assessment income of $13.74 million in 2018, of which 30% was attributed to imports.

The additional funds will enable the Board to maintain its existing programs as well as supporting new programs that will help maintain and expand markets for softwood lumber.

What Is Changing?

The initial assessment rate of .35 cents per thousand board feet is set to increase to .41 cents per thousand board feet beginning April 1st, 2021.

In addition to the fee increase, the Board has also amended the rule to add a conversion factor for square meters to board feet. Currently the order provides for a factor used to convert cubic meters of imported softwood lumber into the equivalent volume of thousands of board feet. This change will enable the Board to assess a more accurate calculation of the assessment.

According to the Federal Register Notice, the following conversion rates will be used to assess board footage:

  • One Cubic Meter (m3) = 0.423776001 Thousand Board Feet
  • One Square Meter (m2) = 0.010763104 Thousand Board Feet

How Is The Softwood Lumber Assessment Fee Collected?

This softwood lumber assessment fee is collected as part of the duties, taxes and fees assessed on imports of softwood lumber imported into the US at the time of importation.

Are There Any Exemptions From The Fee?

Yes, companies that domestically ship or import less than 15 million board feet will remain exempt along with shipments exported outside of the US.

Companies subject to the assessments will not pay assessments on the first 15 million board feet shipped or imported.

For more information on this announcement please visit the Softwood Lumber Board.

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About Author
Misty Gibbins
LCB, CCS

Misty has been working in the brokerage business for 35 years. She was the manager of the Blaine Office of Peace Bridge Customs Brokers for nine years, before coming to Pacific Customs Brokers, Inc. Misty has worked in the trade compliance group at PCB for the past 12 years. She is currently the Senior Trade Regulatory Analyst, which involves keeping up with trade related regulatory changes.

While we strive for accuracy in all our communications, as the Importer of Record it is incumbent upon your company to ensure that you are aware of the requirements under the new regulations so that you maintain compliance as always.
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