U.S. insular watch duty program amendments finalized
The U.S. Commerce and Interior departments have finalized amendments to their regulations governing watch-duty exemption allocations and the watch and jewelry duty-refund benefits for manufacturers in the U.S. insular possessions.
The insular possessions include the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, American Somoa and the Northern Mariana Islands.
The biggest change to the existing rules is the increase in the maximum total value of the watch components per watch and watch movement that are eligible for duty-free entry into the United States from $800 to $3,000 per watch and from $35 to $300 per watch movement due to the recent increases in gold prices. These changes take effect on May 7.
The departments said they received three comments in response to the proposed rulemaking. “The commenters supported the provisions that were proposed and suggested no changes,” the Commerce and Interior departments said.
Congress developed the insular watch program after World War II to stimulate the development of skilled jobs on the impoverished islands. The business took mostly root in the U.S. Virgin Islands. (For more details about the program, read the January American Shipper, pages 42-46).