E N F O R C E M E N T   AND   C O M P L I A N C E

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What is this Certificate and what does it do?

Who benefits from this Certificate?

How can this Certificate help my company?

Can the U.S. Government help me if I have a problem?

How can I get more information?

What is this Certificate and what does it do?

By issuing this Certificate, the Japanese Ministry of Construction agreed to recognize U.S. grademarks for certain American lumber exports to Japan for use in construction. Japanese standards approval is no longer required for these exports. The Certificate has reduced costs and delays and has greatly increased access for American lumber mills to Japan's large housing construction market.

This Certificate was issued on January 6, 1997. It has no expiration date.

Who benefits from this Certificate?

Any U.S. company interested in exporting lumber to Japan for use in Japan's construction industry can benefit from this Certificate, if the lumber is produced from certain species of trees and grademarked by one of the regional inspection agencies accredited by the American Lumber Standards Committee (ALSC).

How can this Certificate help my company?

If American lumber is to be exported to Japan and used there in the construction industry without having to undergo redundant re-grading, it must meet two requirements: it must be produced from one of the species of trees listed in the Note attached to the Certificate and it must be graded by one of the ALSC's regional inspection agencies also listed in the Note.

If your mill produces lumber from species listed in the Certificate and you are interested in exporting your products to Japan for use in the Japanese construction industry, contact one of the ALSC's agencies. If your products meet the prescribed grading requirements, they will receive certified grademark stamps of approval which are now recognized in both the United States and Japan. Your products will then be eligible for export to Japan. The only accompanying documentation that will be required is a Shipper's Export Declaration (SED) form, which is required of all U.S. exports. (Lumber destined for purposes other than construction -- for example making furniture -- does not need a grademark or Japanese standards approval.)

In addition to product testing and certification, the ALSC is also responsible for monitoring exporters' products. ALSC specialists can conduct unscheduled plant inspections and test samples of your products to ensure they meet each species' prescribed grading requirements.

This Certificate has enabled more than 1,000 American mills to produce lumber for Japan's construction market, the largest export market for U.S. wood products. Many small and medium-sized lumber mills have started to ship to Japan. The Certificate has saved American lumber exporters both time and money. It used to take up to eighteen months to obtain Japanese standards approval for a shipment of lumber. Export costs have decreased, on average, by approximately 15 percent since the Certificate was issued. (Actual savings may vary depending on the grade and quantity of lumber exported and the prevailing exchange rate.)

Can the U.S. Government help me if I have a problem?

Yes. If you experience difficulties exporting under this Certificate (for example, if Japanese officials detain or prohibit the entry of a properly grademarked lumber shipment), contact the Office of Trade Agreements Negotiations and Compliance's hotline at the U.S. Department of Commerce. The Center can help you understand your rights under this Certificate and can contact the appropriate U.S. Government officials to make inquiries with Japanese authorities that could help you resolve your exporting problem.

How can I get more information?

The complete text of the Japanese Ministry of Construction's Certificate of Recognition for Grademarked Lumber is available from the Office of Trade Agreements Negotiations and Compliance's web site.

If you have questions about this Certificate or how to use it, you can e-mail the Trade Agreements Negotiation and Compliance which will forward your message to the Commerce Department's Designated Monitoring Officer for the Certificate. You can also contact the Designated Monitoring Officer at the following address:

Designated Monitoring Officer

Japan Grademarked Lumber Certificate

Office of Materials Industries (OMI)

U.S. Department of Commerce

14th Street & Constitution Avenue, N.W.

Washington, D.C. 20230

Phone: (202) 482 - 0377

Fax: (202) 482 - 0382

The Designated Monitoring Officer can also provide you with useful trade leads and contacts.

TANC offers these agreements electronically as a public service for general reference. Every effort has been made to ensure that the text presented is complete and accurate. However, copies needed for legal purposes should be obtained from official archives maintained by the appropriate agency.