Foreign Trade Division rolled out a new search engine, designed and supported by 3CE, a private software company. Trade Division, however, does a poor job of reconciliation of 3CE’s search engine with general rules of interpretation, which should be dispositive in determination of harmonized code (Schedule B included). 3CE engine produces false positives, even for simple products. If one, for example, would try to determine Schedule B number for steel cable ties, 3CE search engine would direct to 7302.90 (Railway or tramway track construction material of iron or steel, the following: rails, check-rails and rack rails, switch blades, crossing frogs, point rods and other crossing pieces, sleepers (cross-ties), fish-plates, chairs, chair wedges, sole plates (base plates), rail clips, bedplates, ties and other material specialized for jointing or fixing rails: Other). Steel cable ties should be classified in the residual category of that chapter (7326). Another example are o-rings. 3CE gives you a choice to classify it as an “article for technical use” or as a “part.” No guidance on either definition is provided. Therefore, if I choose part, I will land somewhere in the landscape of Section XVI, without even knowing about Note 2 requirements of that section.
Trade Division made a step in right direction, providing a more sophisticated tool. Yet, Trade Division needs to emphasize that this is just another tool for exporter. Instead, it appears that Trade Division endorses 3CE’s search tool as the sole means for Schedule B determination without regard to false positives and complexities of GRI application.