Feds Update Burma Jade Law

U.S. Customs and Border Protection issued updated regulations Jan. 16 addressing “conditions for importation” of Burmese and Non-Burmese rubies and jadeite in order to implement the relevant portion of the legislation, as part of the Tom Lantos Block Burmese JADE Act of 2008, the Jewelers Vigilance Committee said.

The Act specifies that all rubies and jadeite originally from Burma (also known as Myanmar) or jewelry containing these gemstones cannot enter this country even if they had been substantially transformed elsewhere. Exceptions apply only to Burmese rubies and jadeite that were present in the U.S. prior to Sept. 27, 2008, and items imported for personal use.

The Burma Task Force, JVC, the American Gem Trade Association, and Jewelers of America, has released guidance on the steps importers and exporters must follow to import non-Burmese rubies and jadeite. It includes:

* Importer Obligations – Under the new regulations, importers continue to be required to certify that their rubies and jadeite were not mined or extracted from Burma. The importer certification is created through the use of new Harmonized Tariff Codes. 

In addition, exporters are obligated to assure that Burmese rubies and jadeite are not intermingled with non-Burmese origin rubies and jadeite. Importers are required to secure a written certification from the exporter stating that the rubies and jadeite were not mined or extracted from Burma.  The exporter must also provide “verifiable evidence” that tracks (if exporting rough) the rough from mine to place of first export, (if exporting polished loose gems) from mine to place of final finishing, and for finished jewelry, from mine to place of final finishing of the article of jewelry. 

Exceptions to these provisions include re-importation of rubies and jadeite (or jewelry containing the same) that were in the US prior to September 27, 2008 (if re-imported by the same entity or person who exported them originally from the US, as long as they have not been advanced in value) and those imported for personal use.      

* Recordkeeping Obligations – Importers of non-Burmese rubies and jadeite must maintain records for five years pertaining to each transaction in covered articles. These records include complete information regarding purchase, manufacture or shipment of covered articles and the exporter’s certification.  Importers are required to produce such records upon request by CBP.  This includes maintaining the exporter certification and the statement regarding verifiable evidence indicating the source of rough, polished or finished jewelry, depending on which was imported. “Verifiable evidence” could be an exporter’s warranty stating the country of origin of the covered articles, the place in which they were polished and the place where they were manufactured into jewelry. Such a warranty should also include a statement that the exporter has available records which corroborate the statement in the warranty.
* “Responsible Employee of the Exporter” – Importers and exporters are required to name on the invoice a responsible employee of the exporter who has or can obtain knowledge of the transactions.  The information that this employee should have access to includes: the verifiable evidence of the source and movement of the covered articles.

In addition, JVC, AGTA, and JA will present “Burma and Beyond — Operating Your Business in Today’s New Regulatory Environment” – at the AGTA GemFair in Tucson on Feb. 7. This seminar can help importers and exporters avoid interruptions in international business and will ensure they understand their legal obligations in this seemingly complex area. An international trade specialist from U.S. Customs and Border Protection will be on-hand to answer questions, and written materials will be available.