25 June 2019
New Trade-Related Actions on Mink Eyelash Imports, Sea Urchin Exports
The Fish and Wildlife Service recently announced that importers bringing shipments of mink or other wildlife used in eyelashes into the United States without a valid import/export licence and/or not declaring such goods are subject to enforcement action, including seizure of goods and possible monetary penalties. According to FWS, eyelashes made with mink, fox, rabbit, sable and other wildlife species are currently popular. However, the species used in these products typically originate from a foreign country and are considered wildlife, even if the source animals are farmed, captive bred or ranched.
The importation of wildlife used in a business venture is considered a commercial activity and requires an import/export licence from the FWS prior to the first shipment arriving in the United States. Licences cost US$100 and are valid for one year from the date of issuance. Importers must also pay a minimum of US$93 in user fees for each commercial shipment.
In addition, each imported shipment of mink or other wildlife eyelashes, whether commercial or non-commercial, is required to enter the United States through an FWS-designated port unless otherwise authorised. Shipments imported for use in a business venture must be declared to the FWS and all accompanying documentation, including any necessary permits, must be submitted.
Separately, FWS has issued a final rule exempting the exportation of green sea urchins from the agency’s import/export licence requirements under certain circumstances. Specifically, this exemption applies to green sea urchins and any products of this species that (i) are harvested in U.S. waters or imported for processing pursuant to an import licence and then exported for human or animal consumption and (ii) do not otherwise require an import/export permit.
However, this exemption does not apply (i) to any person who has been convicted of one or more violations of a federal law relating to the importation, transportation or exportation of wildlife during the previous five years, or (ii) in any country that fails to transmit certain data or if the applicable marine fisheries commission determines that the data transmitted fails to prove that the country is engaged in conservation and management of the green sea urchin.