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Old May 19th, 2011, 05:59 PM
Sid1962 Sid1962 is offline
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First Mate
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Central Connecticut
Posts: 499


First off, thanks to all for you responses.

I emailed the CBP and this is what I received as an answer:
U.S. made goods returning to the United States are usually eligible for duty-free treatment. The provision 9801.00.10 in the Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS) allows U.S. made products to return to the U.S. without duty requirements. However, the provision stipulates the goods value could not have been advanced nor the condition improved while abroad. In other words, if an item was repaired or improved, duty could be owed on either the fair market value of the labor or the item as it has been changed.

For instance, if you take gold to India, where it is then made into jewelry, the gold can not be re-entered into the U.S. free of charge. Nor is the value of the gold deductable from the value of the finished jewelry. To claim goods under this provision, proof of U.S. origin is required (i.e., country of origin marking or a certificate of origin from manufacture).

When clearing returning U.S. goods through Customs and Border Protection (CBP), the importer should file a CBP Form 3311 Declaration for Free Entry of Returned American Products.

What are the requirements for importing diamonds, jewelry, stones, rubies, sapphires, emeralds, pearls, jade, etc.?
Commercial imports of diamonds, jewelry, pearls, and precious and semi-precious stones valued at $2,000 or more require a formal entry. Please see the guidelines for formal entries in our publication entitled "Importing Into the United States". A license is not required to import these items for commercial purposes; however, a Customs bond CBP Form 301 is required for all formal entries. You can obtain a bond from a surety company. A list of sureties is available on the Treasury Web site. You may also want to consider hiring a Custom Broker to file your entries on your behalf. A list of Customs Brokers in your area can be obtained by referring to the ports page, then by selecting the "State and City", and "Customs Brokers."

The Patriot Act also establishes requirements for dealers in gems and precious metals. The Financial Center is the agency responsible for developing regulations regarding registration and compliance programs. Information may also be found on the Jewelers Vigilance Committee's Web site.*

*The Jewelers Vigilance Committee is a private association, and the link to their information should not be construed as an endorsement.

Personal imports of these items are usually cleared informally and do not require a Customs bond. However, if you purchased them while you were abroad, ensure you declare them when clearing Customs and Border Protection (CBP) on the CBP Form 6059B. Imports of diamonds, pearls, rubies, sapphires and emeralds from countries with normal trade relation status are duty-free as long as they are not permanently strung, set or mounted. Additional duty rates for these items can be found in the Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS) in chapter 71. When these items are set or mounted with some sort of metal, they are classified as jewelry and subject to duty. These rates can also be found in chapter 71. Please be aware that there are sanctions against diamonds imported from Sierra Leone, UNITA (Angola), and Liberia. Additional information on sanctions against diamonds from these countries can be found Office of Foreign Assets Control's Web site . This does not apply to other precious stones.

Jade Act of 2008: Jadeite or ruby stones mined or extracted from Burma may not be imported into the U.S. See Enforcement of the Burmese JADE Act. If you wish to import jadeite or rubies for personal or commercial use, you must prove that the jewelry or stones were not manufactured, mined or extracted from Burma.

So it would appear that in some instances you could actually bring back more than your allowance. Of course you would need to declare it and make sure you had proof of where it was manufactured, which may not be all that easy to determine....or maybe it would be. But then who has a CBP form 3311 with them usually? But the fact seems to be that there are goods that are exempt.

Again, thanks for your input....

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