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Title 15: Commerce and Foreign Trade
(a) This part implements the responsibilities of the Secretaries of Commerce and the Interior (“the Secretaries”) under Pub. L. 97-446, enacted on 12 January 1983, which substantially amended Pub. L. 89-805, enacted 10 November 1966, amended by Pub. L. 94-88, enacted 8 August 1975, and amended by Pub. L. 94-241, enacted 24 March 1976, amended by Public Law 103-465, enacted 8 December 1994 and amended by Public Law 108-429 enacted 3 December 2004. The law provides for exemption from duty of territorial watches and watch movements without regard to the value of the foreign materials they contain, if they conform with the provisions of U.S. Legal Note 5 to Chapter 91 of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (“91/5”). 91/5 denies this benefit to articles containing any material which is the product of any country with respect to which Column 2 rates of duty apply; authorizes the Secretaries to establish the total quantity of such articles, provided that the quantity so established does not exceed 10,000,000 units or one-ninth of apparent domestic consumption, whichever is greater, and provided also that the quantity is not decreased by more than ten percent nor increased by more than twenty percent (or to more than 7,000,000 units, whichever is greater) of the quantity established in the previous year.
(b) The law directs the International Trade Commission to determine apparent domestic consumption for the preceding calendar year in the first year U.S. insular imports of watches and watch movements exceed 9,000,000 units. 91/5 authorizes the Secretaries to establish territorial shares of the overall duty-exemption within specified limits; and provides for the annual allocation of the duty-exemption among insular watch producers equitably and on the basis of allocation criteria, including minimum assembly requirements, that will reasonably maximize the net amount of direct economic benefits to the insular possessions.
(c) The amended law also provides for the issuance to producers of certificates entitling the holder (or any transferee) to obtain duty refunds on any article imported into the customs territory of the United States duty paid except for any article containing a material which is the product of a country to which column 2 rates of duty apply. The amounts of these certificates may not exceed specified percentages of the producers' verified creditable wages in the insular possessions (90% of wages paid for the production of the first 300,000 units and declining percentages, established by the Secretaries, of wages paid for incremental production up to 750,000 units by each producer) nor an aggregate annual amount for all certificates exceeding $5,000,000 adjusted for growth by the ratio of the previous year's gross national product to the gross national product in 1982. Refund requests are governed by regulations issued by the Department of Homeland Security. The Secretaries are authorized to issue regulations necessary to carry out their duties under additional U.S. note 5 to chapter 91 of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States, HTSUS and may cancel or restrict the license or certificate of any insular manufacturer found violating the regulations.
[49 FR 17740, Apr. 25, 1984, as amended at 50 FR 43568, Oct. 28, 1985; 53 FR 52994, Dec. 30, 1988; 61 FR 55884, Oct. 30, 1996; 70 FR 67647, Nov. 8, 2005; 72 FR 16713, Apr. 5, 2007]