U.S. Customs Basics for Jewelry Imports
All goods that enter the United States. are categorized in accordance with the provisions of the U.S. Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTSUS). The classification determines whether goods are subject to duty and the rate of that duty. Generally, most precious stones and metals, and jewelry, will be classified within Chapter 71 of HTSUS. Watches are generally classified within Chapter 91.
Loose diamonds, both rough and polished, are currently free of duty upon importation into the U.S. Finished jewelry containing polished diamonds, on the other hand, are subject to a duty rate ranging from 5% to 5.8%, unless the shipment qualifies as duty-free pursuant to a Free Trade Agreements. The U.S. currently has Free Trade Agreements with seventeen countries, including Australia, Canada, Israel, Mexico and Singapore. A complete listing is available at http://www.ustr.gov/trade-agreements/free-trade-agreements.
Duty rates imposed by US Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) often remain constant for years. Typically, changes in duty rates are minor. For more details, search "Duty, Tariff Rates" on the CBP website at www.cbp.gov. Licensed custom brokers can also be helpful in determining an applicable duty rate, and are frequently relied upon by importers.
Before importing, be aware of import bans and sanctions that may be relevant to your transaction. The Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) administers import and export bans against individuals, entities and countries. Import and export transactions involving these targets are prohibited. If a prohibited transaction occurs, penalties may be imposed. OFAC also maintains a Specially Designated Nationals list (SDN), which identifies every entity and individual with whom U.S. persons may not transact business.
To view OFAC's current lists of sanctions against countries, individuals and entities visit their website at www.ustreas.gov/ofac.