Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI) and Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) announced today the introduction of the “Fostering Overseas Rule of Law and Environmentally Sound Trade Act of 2021” (“FOREST Act”). The text of the FOREST Act is available here.
The FOREST Act addresses the environmental and human consequences of illegal deforestation. The addition to the Tariff Act of 1930, entitled “Prohibition on Importation of Products Made Wholly or in Part of Commodities Produced on Illegally Deforested Land,” would create a new, complex scheme to identify countries deemed to have inadequate protections against illegal deforestation. Once a country is identified by the U.S. Trade Representation (“USTR”), the FOREST Act requires an action plan to be established for remediation of illegal deforestation.
The FOREST Act lists six, initial, “covered commodities” that would first be subject to the FOREST Act’s requirements and prohibitions: palm oil, soybeans, cocoa, cattle, rubber, and wood pulp (“covered commodity”), and products made wholly or in part from these commodities (“covered products”). Other covered commodities may later be added.
The FOREST Act phases in duties by importers to make declarations at the time of importation that any such covered products are not made from any covered commodities produced on illegally deforested lands. The FOREST Act also appears to prohibit outright, upon enactment, the importation of any product made wholly or in part from a covered commodity produced from illegally deforested land.
This is complex legislation, and this brief post does not cover the nuisances of the FOREST ACT. If you have any questions or would like more information, please do not hesitate to reach out to us. We look forward to working with clients to deepen understanding.