Showing posts from June, 2020

Ruling of the Week: Origin and Value of Programmed USB

Customs and Border Protection has issued ruling HQ H308234 (Jun. 3, 2020) which covers the classification, valuation, NAFTA status, and 301 status of a USB drive with software on it. Given that a large portion of the trade community is still keenly following origin and 301 issues, it is a good ruling to review. The products involved are the Start Me Stick and the Fix Me Stick . Both of these devices are USB stick drives containing software. The point of the Start Me Stick appears to be to access the internet while bypassing the computer to which the stick is attached. I guess the use case for that is if you use a public terminal (at a library, for example), if your current computer too slow, or if for some reason you need a wholly private browser experience that is not run through the browser on your computer. That latter might help if, say, you are looking for a new job or Tinder date via your office computer. I am not clear how this thing gets and IP address and whether activity ru

Ruling of the Week: Is That Crude?

The difference between crude or roughly trimmed stone and polished stone may seem pretty obvious in the colloquial sense. But, in the world of tariff classification, it is always possible for facts to complicate matters.  Such is the case in HQ H306644 (Feb. 3, 2020) , our Ruling of the Week. The imported merchandise was identified as Blue Pearl, India (or Jet) Black and India Red in roughly five to seven foot lengths and three to four foot widths. The importer originally classified the merchandise in Heading 2516 as crude or roughly trimmed granite. CBP's lab looked at the merchandise and determined that it was polished on two opposite faces or on one face. The importer disputed that the surfaces were polished and CBP looked again. The lab came back with a determination that the top surface is highly reflective of light and smooth to the touch. According to the lab, that is sufficient grounds to find it is polished. As an aside, it also turns out that the stones are not granite, b