Burma Ruby Ban Phase 1 Begins Oct. 26

U.S. Customs & Border Protection has issued Phase 1 of its plan enforce the “Tom Lantos Block Burmese JADE Act of 2008.”

Phase 1 includes detailed requirements to import and export non-Burmese rubies and jadeite into and out of the United States, the Jewelers Vigilance Committee said Friday in a statement. No jadeite and rubies of Myanmar origin can be imported into the United States. This importation ban encompasses all Burmese origin jadeite and rubies, notwithstanding “substantial transformation” in Thailand or elsewhere.

A 30-day grace period has been established whereby importers and exporters that may not meet all mandatory requirements can still import and export non-Burmese goods until Oct. 26, JVC said.

Customs has issued new Harmonized Tariff System codes for use for all non-Burmese rubies and jadeite and jewelry containing these gemstones imported into the U.S. Shipments of rubies and jadeite from non-Burmese sources must use these codes when entering the U.S. In addition, importers are required to:

Maintain full records related to purchase, manufacture and shipment of non-Burmese goods for five years;

Provide these records to Customs, if asked.

Exporters are also required to maintain and file specific records, JVC said. Exporters are required to declare upon entry that the jadeite or rubies have been subject to a system of verifiable controls from mine to first export that demonstrate that the gemstones were not extracted from Burma and that the exporters have records to prove it. This applies also to jewelry containing non-Burmese rubies and jadeite.

Phase 2 of the implementation plan will be developed over the next few months, JVC said. The purpose of Phase 2 is to determine if further steps are needed to support additional verification of export controls and to streamline the process.

Importers and exporters can send questions to U.S. Customs at jade.act@cbp.dhs.gov. Customs will be posting frequently asked questions on its Web site.  Custom’s full Implementation Plan, Phase 1 will be available on JVC’s Web site.

The importation ban does not apply to Burmese jadeite or rubies that are imported for personal use, meaning for personal wear by the importer, JVC said. Further, the bill does not address U.S. sales of any inventory of Burmese jadeite or rubies currently in the U.S. U.S. jewelers can to sell existing inventories of Burmese jadeite and rubies already in the US.  

Cecilia Gardner, JVC president, CEO and general counsel, said the new law “Has serious and long-term impact on U.S. jewelry manufacturers who import jadeite and rubies. Effective immediately, all importers and exporters of non-Burmese rubies and jadeite must follow Phase 1 of the Burmese JADE Act Enforcement Plan and use Custom’s new Harmonized codes, although there is a generous grace period.”