United States International Trade Commision Rulings And Harmonized Tariff Schedule
faqs.org  Rulings By Number  Rulings By Category  Tariff Numbers
faqs.org > Rulings and Tariffs Home > Rulings By Number > 2006 NY Rulings > NY M86142 - NY M86194 > NY M86161

Previous Ruling Next Ruling
NY M86161

September 7, 2006

CLA-2-71:RR:NC:SP:233 M86161


TARIFF NO.: 7117.90.9000

Mr. Michael Gobril
Barse & Company Inc.
7800 John Carpenter Freeway
Dallas, TX 75247

RE: The tariff classification of coral and mother of pearl jewelry from China.

Dear Mr. Gobril:

In your letter dated August 25, 2006, you requested a tariff classification ruling.

The merchandise under consideration is coral and mother of pearl jewelry, specifically, necklaces and bracelets. You have submitted photographs of the items in question. In your request, you indicate that coral and mother of pearl, both being of natural organic materials, and traditionally used in fine and bridge jewelry, seems to indicate that their classification under imitation jewelry would not be correct. You ask if they should be excluded from heading 7117, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), which provides for imitation jewelry, allowing them to be classified under heading 9601, which provides for worked ivory coral, mother-of-pearl and articles of these materials: coral, cut but not set, and cameos, suitable for use in jewelry.

In order to determine the proper classification of coral and mother jewelry, we must first determine whether the subject articles are identifiable as semiprecious stone for tariff purposes. In understanding the language of the HTSUS, the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System Explanatory Notes (Ens) may be consulted. The ENs, although not dispositive or legally binding, provide a commentary on the scope of each heading of the HTSUS and are generally indicative of the proper interpretation of the HTSUS. General EN 3 to Section XIV states, in pertinent part, that Chapter 71 includes “in general, articles made wholly or partly of natural or cultured pearls, diamonds or other precious or semi-precious stones (natural, synthetic or reconstructed), precious metals or metal clad with precious metal.” EN Annex to Section XIV does not include coral or mother of pearl in the list of precious or semi-precious stones.

The Annex is a list provided to the Explanatory Note authors by the trade. According to World Customs Organization Document 38.907 E, dated October 19, 1994, the Annex is based on the “Blue Book” of the International Confederation of Jewelry, Silverware, Diamonds, Pearls & Precious Stones (CIBJO). CIBJO is a professional international organization whose main purpose is to promote international cooperation in the jewelry industry and to solve problems which concern trade worldwide. Membership is open to national federations that embrace the whole trade in each country and not individuals. The U.S. is a member. You have asked whether coral and mother of pearl should be added to the list of semi precious stones. As explained, the list is based on the “Blue Book”. The following is an excerpt from the CIBJO website:

Comments for revision of the Blue Books standards are welcome from any interested party, regardless of membership affiliation with any trade organization or laboratory. Suggestions for changes in documents should be in the form of a proposed change of text, together with appropriate supporting comments.

All suggestions should be sent to the CIBJO Secretariat located at:

P.le Giulio Cesare
Palazzo Africa
20145 Milano

E-mail: cibjo@cibjo.org
Phone +39 02 4997 7098 / 7097
Fax +39 02 4997 7059

In answer to your question on whether coral and mother of pearl jewelry should be classified in heading 9601, please note that Chapter 96, Note 1(c) states: This Chapter does not cover imitation jewelry (heading 7117).

The applicable subheading for the coral and mother of pearl jewelry will be 7117.90.9000, HTSUS, which provides for “Imitation jewelry: Other: Other: Valued over 20 cents per dozen pieces or parts: Other: Other.” The rate of duty will be 11% ad valorem.

Duty rates are provided for your convenience and are subject to change. The text of the most recent HTSUS and the accompanying duty rates are provided on World Wide Web at http://www.usitc.gov/tata/hts/.

This ruling is being issued under the provisions of Part 177 of the Customs Regulations (19 C.F.R. 177).

A copy of the ruling or the control number indicated above should be provided with the entry documents filed at the time this merchandise is imported. If you have any questions regarding the ruling, contact National Import Specialist Lawrence Mushinske at 646-733-3036.


Robert B. Swierupski

Previous Ruling Next Ruling

See also: