In ruling N327192 (Aug. 17, 2022), Customs and Border Protection (CBP) discussed the tariff classification of semiprecious stones from China. The item under review was referred to as the “National Geographic 2 lbs. Premium Polished Gemstone Set.” The stones came tumbled and polished, and could be used by collectors, placed in aquariums, used in crafts, handmade jewelry, healing crystal displays, and as home décor. The set included the following items:
- Two pounds (total) of the following semiprecious gemstones, each up to ½-inch in size and varying in quantity:
- Agate, Amethyst, Blue Quartz, Dalmatian Jasper, Green Aventurine, Hematite, Howlite, Jasper, Obsidian, Red Jasper, Rose Quartz, Sodalite, Tigers Eye, Unakite, and White Quartz;
- A rock identification card;
- A learning guide.
CBP established that, based upon the General Rules of Interpretation (GRIs), the item was considered a set for classification purposes. Goods put up in sets for retail sale are goods that (a) consist of at least two different articles that are, prima facie, classifiable in different headings; (b) consist of articles put together to meet a particular need or carry out a specific activity; and (c) are put up in a manner suitable for sale directly to end users without repacking.
Per GRI 3(b), “mixtures, composite goods consisting of different materials or made up of different components, and goods put up in sets for retail sale, which cannot be classified by reference to 3(a), shall be classified as if they consisted of the material or component which gives them their essential character, insofar as this criterion is applicable.” The factor determining essential character will vary as between different kinds of goods. For example, essential character may be determined by the nature of the material or component, its bulk, quantity, weight or value, or by the role of a constituent material in relation to the use of the goods. In this instance, CBP found that the essential character of the gemstone set was imparted by the semiprecious gemstones.
As such, CBP ruled that the “National Geographic 2 lbs. Premium Polished Gemstone Set” would be classified under subheading 7103.99.5000, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), which provides for “Precious stones (other than diamonds) and semiprecious stones, whether or not worked or graded but not strung, mounted or set…: Otherwise worked: Other: Other.” The rate of duty is 10.5% ad valorem.
Additionally, pursuant to U.S. Note 20 to Subchapter III, Chapter 99, HTSUS, Chinese-origin products under subheadings 7103.99.5000, HTSUS, unless specifically excluded, are subject to an additional 7.5% ad valorem duty rate. As such, the chapter subheading 9903.88.15 must be reported in addition to subheading 7103.99.5000, HTSUS.