Burmese Ruby Ban Begins

Effective Monday, it is mandatory for U.S. jewelers who import and export non-Burmese rubies and jadeite to follow Phase 1 of the “Tom Lantos Block Burmese JADE Act of 2008.”

This portion of the law includes detailed requirements to import and export non-Burmese rubies and jadeite into and out of the United States, the Jewelers Vigilance Committee said Monday. The 30-day grace period for importers and exporters who may not have met all mandatory requirements but could still import and export non-Burmese goods ended Sunday.

Jadeite and rubies of Burma origin have been banned from import into the US since Sept. 29.    

Importers and exporters must use new Harmonized Tariff System codes when importing all non-Burmese rubies and jadeite and jewelry containing these gemstones into the U.S.   

In addition, JVC said, importers are required to: 

* Maintain full records related to purchase, manufacture and shipment of non-Burmese goods for five years;
* Provide these records to U.S. Customs authorities, 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. Its purpose is to determine if further steps are needed to support additional verification of export controls and to streamline the process, JVC said.

Importers and exporters can send questions to Customs at jade.act@cbp.dhs.gov. Customs will be posting frequently asked questions on their website, www.cbp.gov. Custom’s Implementation Plan, Phase 1 is available on JVC’s Web site, www.jvclegal.org.

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.  Jewelers can continue to sell existing inventories of Burmese jadeite and rubies already in the U.S.