CROSS is a search engine of U.S. Customs rulings on tariff classification, country of origin, marking, and trade programs/agreements. See it in action here.
CROSS can be an invaluable compliance tool for U.S. importers—if they know how to use it correctly. In this article, we will focus on search tips for classification rulings.
You may be wondering what all the fuss is about. It’s just like a Google search, right? WRONG. If you’re not careful with how you complete a classification search in CROSS, key rulings could be left out of your search results, making it all the more likely that you will misclassify your product.
How do I effectively search CROSS?
1. Start by searching with as many keywords as possible.
2. Don’t include article words (such as like, with, the, etc.) or you won’t get any search results. For example, searching with the phrase, gun rifle cleaning kit with brushes, returns 0 search results because the word with is ignored by CROSS.
Omitting the word with and searching with the phrase, gun rifle cleaning kit brushes, returns 1 result, N206317.
3. Complete a second search using less keywords. This will usually return results not included in your first search. In our previous example, we searched using the phrase, gun rifle cleaning kit brushes, which returned only one result (Ruling N206317, classification 9603.90.8050). However, if we perform a secondary search with less keywords, using the phrase, gun cleaning kit, we find another ruling not listed in the previous search results, Ruling K88087.
This second ruling confirms the classification of the gun/rifle cleaning kits as 9603.90.8050. So, based on our CROSS search, the cleaning kits would be best described on the commercial invoice as, gun/rifle cleaning kits including brushes and mops, with the HTS classification 9603.90.8050.
4. Use the most recent binding ruling to support your tariff classification decision. Make sure it describes your product closely. The same applies to any discrepancies between a relevant Informed Compliance Publication for your product and past rulings. The importer should defer to the rulings if they were written after the Informed Compliance Publication.
5. When in doubt, seek a binding ruling from U.S. Customs.
Managing your reasonable care
In Informed Compliance Publication: Reasonable Care,U.S. Customs & Border Protection recommends that importers have procedures in place to use CROSS for fulfilling two important components of reasonable care. They are:
- Using CROSS to assist in correct tariff classification of imported products.
- Using verbiage from CROSS rulings to more accurately describe goods on Customs documentation and to meet importer invoice requirements pursuant to 19 CFR 141.86 and 141.89.
By Jim Trubits, Senior Advisor. Jim is a licensed Customs broker and certified Customs specialist.