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How to Import OSB and Plywood From China

How to Import OSB and Plywood From China
OSB and plywood imports from China are on the rise. Both of these manufactured wood products have strict regulations. Find out what's required to safely import them into the U.S.
USA Customs Clearance
May 14, 2021
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Last Modified: September 9, 2022

The current state of the wood and lumber supply chain has seen some dramatic shifts recently. Mainly, skyrocketing prices due to low supply and high demand has compelled some businesses to look at sourcing alternatives. Importing Oriented Strand Board (OSB) and plywood from China is turning out to be one of the most prominent alternatives. This option will work for many importers, but some important rules need to be followed.

To import OSB and plywood from China, importers need to go through some important steps. This includes abiding by USDA import requirements and classifying the product with the correct HTS code, and more. Failing to adhere to any of the requirements can lead to financial penalties, shipment seizure, and import bans.

Due to the complexities involved in importing OSB and plywood from China, many importers choose to partner with a Licensed Customs Broker. Our Licensed Customs Brokers are available to guide you through the entire process of importing. 

Don't Import OSB and Plywood On Your Own

Our experts are ready to help you

The comprehensive guide below provides you with a brief overview of what’s required to import OSB and plywood from China.  

Classify Your Wood With the Correct HTS Code

Classify Your Wood With the Correct HTS Code

All products that are imported into the United States are required to be classified with the correct Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS) code. This is a unique 10-digit code that’s associated with each specific product that’s imported. 

The HTS code is used in a variety of ways in the import process including:

  • Prioritization of scheduled arriving shipments by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents
  • Calculation of import duties 
  • Identifying required documentation

Classifying products with the correct HTS code is always important. However, for OSB and plywood there’s an increased priority on accurate classification. This increased significance is due to the fact that there are many different HTS codes for plywood. In fact, there are dozens of HTS codes to choose from for imported OSB and plywood.

The exact code that you should use for your OSB and plywood depends on a number of factors that include:

  • Thickness of the sheet(s)
  • Level of processing that’s been done to the sheets
  • Type of resin used to bond the wood
  • Internal and surface composition
  • And more

Further complicating this process is the added pressure that using the wrong HTS code can lead to a variety of issues. These issues include paying too much or too little in import duties, facing additional audits from CBP, and being assessed financial penalties.

One of the most surefire ways to be sure your OSB and plywood is classified with the correct HTS code is to work with a Licensed Customs Broker. Our brokers are licensed by the CBP and have significant experience in tariff classification. With our help, you can relax knowing that your products are properly classified.

Are any of the goods you import from China manufactured in or sourced from the Xinjiang region? Any goods or materials produced in the region are prohibited from entry into the U.S. Read our article on the Xinjiang import ban to find out more and avoid having your shipment fined and detained.

Don't Import OSB and Plywood On Your Own

Our experts are ready to help you

Identify All Applicable Import Duties

Identify all applicable import duties

As an importer, knowing the amount of import duty you’re expected to pay is a critical detail. The last thing you want is to be blindsided by unexpected fees when your shipment is crossing the border. OSB and plywood from China faces an additional challenge due to a couple of additional duties that may apply.

Section 301 Duties

The first of the additional duties that your OSB or plywood import may face are through the Section 301 Tariffs. These tariffs specific to China were implemented beginning in 2017 and gradually rolled out through 2019. Essentially all products coming from China are subject to this tariff and range from an additional 7.5 to 25% on top of normal duty rates; this difference can be massive based on the value of your imported OSB and plywood. In most cases, plywood and OSB are levied additional duty under Section 301 at a rate of 25%. 

Antidumping and Countervailing Duties

In addition to Section 301 duties, antidumping & countervailing (AD/CVD) duties are also in play for some plywood imports from China. As of the writing of this article, OSB imported from China is not subject to AD/CVD duties. With this in mind, it’s vitally important to confirm that the OSB you’re importing is actually OSB and not plywood. 

For plywood, the AD/CVD duties can be as high as nearly 200% on top of normal duty rates. Additionally, importers are required to place a cash deposit covering nearly the full amount of these additional duties. This is required by CBP as a means to ensure that the additional duties are paid at the time of import.  

Our Licensed Customs Brokers can provide you with a comprehensive review and duty calculation for your OSB and plywood import. Consulting with a Customs Broker prior to importing these products is highly advisable. You may discover that it’s more profitable and worthwhile for your business to import your plywood from elsewhere. Regardless, we’re here to give you the resources you need to make the right decision.

Don't Import OSB and Plywood On Your Own

Our experts are ready to help you

Compile and Include Required Documentation

Compile and Include Required Documentation

Once you’ve made the decision to import OSB and Plywood from China, one of the next steps to take is gathering all required import documentation. Again, OSB and plywood will require some additional documents not normally required for other types of products.

Lacey Act Declaration

All wood products being imported into the U.S. require a Lacey Act Declaration to be filed at the time of import. 

This declaration requires some specific information about the wood product being imported including:

  • Country of harvest
  • Component materials
  • Genus
  • Species
  • Plant material quantity
  • Percentage recycled if applicable
  • And more

While this declaration can be filed via the paper form, PPQ Form 505, most often it’s filed electronically through CBP’s online filing system ACE (Automated Commercial Environment) by a Licensed Customs Broker. It should be noted that in some cases, a Special Use Designation (SUD) can be used when declaring imported OSB. However, importers need to be prepared to present any required documentation when making this claim. 

Failure to file the Lacey Act Declaration in accordance with the requirements can lead to monetary penalties of up to $200,000 and forfeiture of goods. 

Timber Import Permit

Depending on the level of processing that’s been done to your OSB and plywood, you may also need to obtain a Timber Import Permit. This is required when importing unmanufactured wood products. 

In most scenarios, this particular permit won’t be required because by definition OSB and plywood are manufactured wood products. However, if the wood is being imported with any unfinished veneers, a timber import permit will be required.

Standard Import Documents

In addition to the two specific documents mentioned above, standard documents that must accompany all commercial imports must also be included.

Basic documents that need to be included with your import include:

  • Commercial Invoice- This shows transaction details between the buyer and seller of the goods that are being imported. 
  • Packing List- Essentially an inventory of the products being shipped. The information on this form should match the details included on the commercial invoice. CBP agents will use the packing list when inspecting cargo at the port.
  • Bill of Lading(BOL)- A document given by the carrier to the seller and buyer of the goods. This ultimately serves as proof that the goods are being transported, and once complete, have been delivered. 
  • Arrival Notice- Another carrier provided document that allows the customs clearance process to go to the next stage. This notice is given to the consignee of the shipment, which enables them, or their Customs Broker, to file the entry summary with CBP.

Again, all of these documents are required in order to legally import your goods into the U.S. It should be noted that they must be provided in English

If you’re overwhelmed or worried about obtaining and submitting all of these documents, that’s why we’re here. Our Licensed Customs Brokers clear shipments for importers every single day, so they know exactly how to get the job done. Even if you’re brand new to importing, you don’t need to fret. We can handle the entire process for you to make it smooth and hassle-free. 

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Secure Your Import With a Customs Bond

Secure Your Import With a Customs Bond

While this topic technically could have been included in the previous section on documents, it’s importance dictates that it be mentioned on its own. A customs bond, also known as an import bond, is a requirement for most commercial shipments arriving in the U.S. The exact rule requires that any shipment valued at $2,500 and up or that contains goods regulated by a Partner Government Agency be covered by a Customs Bond. In the case of OSB and plywood, regardless of the value, it will need a customs bond due to its’ regulation by the USDA.

There are two main types of customs import bonds to choose from:

  • Single Entry- As the name implies, this bond covers only one entry of goods into the U.S.
  • Annual/Continuous- All of your shipments within 1 year from the effective date are covered by this type of bond.

Customs bonds can be purchased directly from a surety company that strictly provides bonds or from customs brokerage providers. At USA Customs Clearance, we offer continuous customs bonds for only $275. When you purchase a customs bond from us, you also have convenient access to all of the customs clearance services we provide.

Be Sure Your OSB and Plywood Import is Secured

Get Your Customs Bond Quickly and Easily

Get Help From a Licensed Customs Broker

Considering the current state of demand for OSB and plywood, you can’t afford to make costly mistakes when importing them from China. Our Licensed Customs Brokers are here to ensure your OSB and plywood from China is imported quickly and smoothly. We put our extensive knowledge and experience of customs clearance to work for you in everything that we do.

To make the process even simpler, our in-house freight & logistics team can help with all of your shipping needs as well. From warehousing and order fulfillment to domestic & international shipping and more, we can manage all of your supply chain needs.

When you’re ready to get help, schedule a consulting session with our Licensed Customs Brokers. They’ll guide you through the entire process of what’s required to safely import your OSB and plywood from China.

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3 comments on “How to Import OSB and Plywood From China”

  1. I heard for importing timber continuously, you have to pay a $500,000 cash bond. How true is this?

  2. Hi Mr/Ms

    I will import plywood from China. How can you help me to get them safely such as which certifications need to be completed, how much duty rates,how much fees totally do I need to pay,etc, thank you.

    1. Hi Tommy,

      We can definitely help you with this! You'll have many steps to go through as plywood is heavily regulated, especially when it comes from China. The best thing for you to do is consult with our Licensed Customs Brokers. They'll go over the complete process and all of the requirements you'll need to comply with. You'll also receive a comprehensive summary with everything that was discussed after the consultation is complete.

      You can sign up for the consultation at the link below. We look forward to helping you!

      Customs Broker Consulting

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