Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Oil Spill Dredges Up The Jones Act

Since this article was originally published, the U.S. accepted 22 offers of assistance from 12 countries. Click HERE for information about the offers.

Many Americans may be wondering why no one has come to help us contain the oil spill. Within a week of the explosion, 13 countries offered assistance from vessels and crews with experience in removing oil spill debris. The State Department acknowledged that it received 21 offers of assistance from 17 countries. However, a 1920 law, the Jones Act, foreign vessels and crew are not permitted in U.S. waters.

The Merchant Marine Act of 1920 (P.L. 66-261) is a federal statute that regulates maritime commerce in U.S. waters and between U.S. ports. Section 27, also known as the Jones Act, requires that all goods transported by water between U.S. ports be carried in U.S.-flag ships, constructed in the United States, owned by U.S. citizens, and containing crews of U.S. citizens and permanent residents. At the time this law was enacted, there was a need to support the U.S. merchant marine industry; however, this law favors labor unions and hinders free trade, especially for agricultural products by increased shipping costs.

So, it’s not that other countries don’t want to help; our laws don’t allow them to help. Last week, Senator John McCain introduced legislation that would repeal the Jones Act. A notable point in his speech was the reference to an ITC study in 2002 that showed repeal of the Jones Act would have an annual positive effect of $656 million. Click HERE to read about some of the benefits McCain highlighted in his speech.

The Administration has the ability to grant a waiver of the Jones Act; however, this has not been done. Therefore, some Senators have put forward legislation to waive the Jones Act during emergency situations such as this one; however, McCain proposes to permanently repeal the Jones Act to avoid situations like this one and saving consumers hundreds of millions of dollars
The Maritime Cabotage Task Force, a lobbying group representing Jones Act carriers, shipyards and dredgers seem to support a waiver. The task force said that if foreign-flag vessels are needed for cleanup within domestic waters, it would not oppose waivers to the Jones Act.

The big question still looms like the oil in the Gulf. Will a waiver or repeal happen in time to provide some relief in the Gulf?

Share your thoughts with us by taking the poll located on the top right corner of the page.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Free Trade Tuesday - DR-CAFTA

The Dominican Republic – Central America Free Trade Agreement (DR-CAFTA) is a multilateral agreement between the U.S. and Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Dominican Republic. The agreement is designed to develop economic relations and encourage trade between the parties through the reduction and elimination of tariffs and other barriers to trade. When launched in 2006, DR-CAFTA immediately eliminated tariffs on more than 80 percent of U.S. exports of consumer and industrial products, phasing out the rest over 10 years. DR-CAFTA does not have an expiration date and all duties should be completely phased out by January 1, 2025. The agreement also eliminates the payment of the 0.21% merchandise processing fee for qualifying articles.

The DR-CAFTA uses a methodology similar to NAFTA, CFTA, and AFTA to determine whether a good qualifies for preferential tariff treatment; however, the responsibility for providing information to substantiate the claim is on the importer. A certificate of origin is not required to be presented in order to obtain benefits, unless requested by CBP. The U.S. Commercial Service maintains a sample form, which is similar to the NAFTA Certificate. Click HERE for some interesting CAFTA trade information on exports to and imports from CAFTA countries.

DR-CAFTA - Key Facts
Expiration: N/A
HTS General Note: GN 29
Imported Directly: No additional production allowed. Must stay under Customs control.
De Minimis:
· 10% - Non Textiles (Value)
· 10% - Textiles (Weight)
· Some Exceptions
Origin Criteria:Tariff Shift, RVC - Build-up/Build-down, Accumulation
MPF: Originating Goods Exempt
Countries: El Salvador, Nicaragua, Honduras, Guatemala, Dominican Republic, Costa Rica, United States
Related Regulations: 19 CFR 10. 581

Monday, June 28, 2010

Who Is Looking At Your Credit Report?

Most of us realize that when we borrow money, creditors access our credit reports to determine whether to lend us money. But who else looks at our credit and why would they need information about our credit?

First, you should be looking at your credit report at least once a year to check for accuracy, especially with the rise of identity theft. Reviewing your credit report once a year and knowing your rights are some of the most important steps you can take to safeguard your credit and privacy.

Credit reports are a gold mine of information about consumers. They contain Social Security number, date of birth, current and previous addresses, telephone numbers (including unlisted numbers), credit payment status, employment, even legal information. However, they do not medical information. In the case the report is requested by an employer or potential employer, it will not contain information related to age, marital status or race.

The Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act of 2003 (FACT Act) allows consumers to request a free copy of their credit report annually from each of the three credit bureaus - Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. Reports can be ordered online at

So, why are you reading about this in an international trade blog? Good question. There are two reasons – your employer and the government.

The federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and state laws restrict who has access to your sensitive credit information and what uses can be made of it. The following is a list of parties that can access your credit report. Pay close attention to 4, 6 and 8.

1. Parties considering granting you credit.
2. Landlords.
3. Insurance companies.
4. Employers and potential employers (but only with your consent).
5. Companies with which you have a credit account for account monitoring purposes.
6. Those considering your application for a government license or benefit if the agency is required to consider your financial status.
7. A state or local child support enforcement agency.
8. Any government agency (limited usually to your name, address, former addresses, current and former employers).

Let’s take a look at employers first. Some of our readers may be looking for a new job or a promotion with their current employer. Some employers use credit reports to screen applicants as a general indication of an applicant’s financial and personal integrity, while some also review them when considering promotions to sensitive positions. For those of you who are members of C-TPAT, look at your business partner and personnel requirements. In the best practices materials, CBP suggests verification of financial soundness of business partners and background checks including financial history on employees. Therefore, if your employer is a member of C-TPAT, it is likely that they have reviewed your credit report. This should also put you on notice that if you apply for a new job with another company, they may also review your credit report. If you are looking for a job, this is another good reason to review your credit report and correct errors that you may find. Note that employers and potential employers may only check your report if you provide permission. Do you remember reading the small print in one of those documents you signed?

Next, we will look at the government. For those of you who are taking the Customs Broker Exam or are awaiting your license, guess what? CBP wants to review your credit report too! Although not specifically included in the CFR, CBP states that the background investigation includes a review of character references, credit reports and arrest records. This review relates to business integrity, which is specifically referenced in 19 CFR 111.14. Question 15 on the CBP 3124 asks about debt and bankruptcy. While negative information on the credit report might not disqualify you from obtaining your broker’s license, it’s another good reason to check your report and try to fix any inaccurate entries. Notice that the government does not seem to need your consent to probe into your background. The signature block does not give them permission to perform the background check; it just certifies you have provided accurate information.

If you want to know who has been looking at your credit report and review your credit history, it’s time to request your report. In addition to the information about your credit, you will find that the report contains information on any credit inquiries within the past 12 months.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

What Is PS-Prep?

The trade community is quite familiar with C-TPAT, the joint government-business program to strengthen the supply chain and border security; however, there is another government-private sector partnership that is starting to receive some attention, PS-Prep.

PS-Prep is a partnership between DHS and the private sector that allows private organizations to obtain certification by DHS for emergency preparedness programs. Similar to C-TPAT, the program is currently voluntary.

Title IX of the 9/11 Commission Act of 2007, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is required to develop and implement a voluntary program of accreditation and certification of private entities to encourage private sector preparedness, including disaster management, emergency management and business continuity programs. While this program will not prevent disasters, PS-Prep seeks to enable businesses to respond and recover from a disaster in an efficient effective manner. Private sector entities such as companies, not-for-profit corporations, hospitals, universities, etc. may be certified by an accredited third party to verify that the entity adheres to one or more preparedness standards adopted by DHS.

The final standards for the program were published in the Federal Register on June 16, 2010. There are currently three accepted standards for the program:

ASIS SPC. 1-2009 – American Society for Industrial Security
British Standard 2599-2.2007 – British Standards Institution
NFPA 1600:2007/2010 - National Fire Protection Association

DHS is responsible for monitoring the effectiveness of the program and make improvements and adjustments to PS-Prep as needed. For a nation trying to recover from a recession, floods, oil spills and other woes, the new program is likely to generate a few questions and comments from the trade community.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Free Trade Tuesday - Singapore

Implemented in 2004, the United States-Singapore Free Trade Agreement (SFTA) eliminates tariffs on most goods originating in the United States and Singapore over a maximum transition period of ten years. There is no expiration date and duties on eligible goods should be phased out by 2013.

The rules of origin for goods that are not wholly obtained from the United States or Singapore are based on a tariff-shift method and/or regional value-content method similar to the rules under NAFTA. When it is necessary to use the RVC, SFTA uses a “build-up & build down” calculation. A notable difference in the SFTA is that the responsibility is on the importer, rather than the exporter, to demonstrate that a good qualifies for preferential tariff treatment. Eligible goods are designated by the letters "SG" in the Special subcolumn.

Special Requirements

Generally, under the SFTA, a non-textile good will qualify for preferential tariff treatment as a "product of Singapore" if:
  • The good is wholly obtained or produced entirely in Singapore, the U.S. or both, or,
  • Each non-originating material used in the production of the good imported from Singapore undergoes the specified tariff shift, or the good otherwise satisfies applicable Regional Value Content.
Goods that qualify for preferential tariff treatment are not subject to the Merchandise Processing Fee (MPF), though textile merchandise entered under TPL numbers 9910 will still be subject to MPF.

Tariff Preference Levels (TPLs) have been established for certain apparel products of cotton and man-made fibers, to allow entry under a reduced duty rate up to a specific quantity of goods that are not originating goods. Once that quantity is reached, the product is dutiable at the column 1 rate and MPF is due. A valid preferential Certificate of Origin/Eligibility (Certificate) is required whenever a TPL claim is made. This Certificate must be an original and must be filed with the entry documents. If a good does not qualify as originating under SFTA or under the established TPLs, but it is still considered a product of Singapore, then the normal column 1 rate would apply, and MPF is due.

SFTA - Key Facts

Expiration: N/A

HTS General Note:
GN 25

Imported Directly:
Yes - unloading/reloading in third countries allowed. No additional production allowed.


De Minimis:

  • 10% - Non Textiles (Value)
  • 7% - Textiles (Weight)
  • Some Exceptions

Origin Criteria:
  • Tariff Shift
  • RVC - Build-up/Build-down
  • Accumulation
MPF: Originating Goods Exempt
Countries: Singapore, United States
Related Regulations: 19 CFR 10.501 – 10.570

Thursday, June 17, 2010

A Customs Fairy Tale and Importers Nightmare

Once upon a time, there was a large importer of computers and parts. The computer equipment lived in a large brick warehouse called a foreign trade zone (FTZ). When the computer equipment left the FTZ, the importer entered the secondary batteries for notebook computers as automatic data processing machines under 8471, which was the same HTS code as the notebooks. The classification carries a free rate of duty. The importer was very happy!

One day while the importer was minding their own business, Customs and Border Protection Officers came knocking on the door. The officers demanded that the importer change the classification of the batteries to other storage batteries under 8507 and a 3.4% rate of duty. The importer was not happy!

The importer tried to explain that customers ordered the notebook containing the primary battery and then had the option of ordering additional items such as the secondary battery. The standard notebook package contained the computer, primary battery, power cord and operator manuals. When secondary batteries were ordered, they were tossed in the box and classified under the same provision as the computer.

The officers didn’t like this explanation and a big argument ensued. The importer and officers could not come to an agreement, so they decided to let a judge decide what they should do. The judge took out his rulebook and cited the General Rules of Interpretation, and something about common meaning. He also used a big book call the Explanatory Notes to help him decide. He told the importer and officers if they didn’t play nice together that he would throw that big book at them!

The importer offered two reasons why their classification was correct. First, they argued that the secondary batteries were functional units of the notebook. Just in case the judge didn’t like that idea, the importer added that the batteries should be classified as a component of the retail set under GRI 3(b). The importer was hopeful!

The judge took these arguments into consideration and tossed them both out. The batteries couldn’t be functional units because they are not essential to the performance. The primary function of the computer is served by the primary battery that is already encased in the computer. In reviewing the argument that the batteries are a component of a retail set under GRI 3(b), things started to look better for the importer, as the secondary battery helps meet a particular need or carries out a specific activity required by GRI 3(b). However, the judge dug a little deeper and discovered that 3(b) requires that the merchandise be “put up” together with the other components. The importer argued that the batteries were put up with the rest of the components, but the judge got out the big book, which explained that “put up” means that the goods are offered together for retail sale or displayed or shown together for retail sale. The batteries were offered for sale as individual units and customer could purchase one or more secondary batteries, along with other items when purchasing the notebook. The additional items were tossed in the box that already contained the computer. The judge ruled that the batteries should be classified under 8507 and told the importer and agents to play nice in the future.

The End!

HERE to read the true story this fairy tale was based on.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Free Trade Tuesday - AGOA

Implemented in 2000, the African Growth and Opportunity Act provides for the duty free entry of certain non-textile articles previously excluded from preferential treatment under the Generalized System of Preferences program, as well as, the duty and quota-free entry of certain textile and apparel articles that meet certain specific production requirements. The AGOA is intended to encourage economic growth in more than three dozen sub-Saharan countries. This program will be in effect until September 30, 2015.

The origin criteria under AGOA are similar to that of GSP. In order to be eligible special duty treatment under AGOA, an article must meet the following criteria:

·The article is imported directly from a designated beneficiary country.

·The sum of (1) the cost or value of the materials produced in one or more designated beneficiary countries, plus (2) the direct costs of processing operations performed in the designated beneficiary country, or in one or more members of an association of countries which is treated as one country, is at least 35 percent of the appraised value of the article.

·Up to 15 percent of the 35 percent local value content requirement may be attributable to the cost or value of materials produced in the United States.

·Origin will not be based on simple combining or packaging operations or dilution with water or another substance, as these processes do not materially alter the characteristics of the article.

AGOA Key Facts

Expiration: 9/30/2015 - GSP Provisions
HTS General Note: GN 16
Imported Directly: Yes
De Minimis: 10% Weight - Textiles
Origin Criteria: 35% - with 15% U.S. Origin Content Allowable, Substantial Transformation MPF: No Exemption
Countries: Click for list.
19 CFR 10.211

Monday, June 14, 2010

Export or Outsource - Does Your Heart Care?

When most people think about international trade, they picture goods moving across borders. What does it mean to export a service? What is the difference between exporting services and outsourcing jobs? defines exports as goods and services produced in one country and sold in other countries in exchange for goods and services, gold, foreign exchange, or settlement of debt. defines activities such as banking, telecommunications, advertising, data processing, and consulting as services. Service industries account for approximately two-thirds of the economic activity of the United States and for an increasing percentage of U.S. exports. Therefore, when a U.S. accounting firms contracts with a Swedish company for the U.S. firm to perform accounting services on behalf of the Swedish firm, we have a service export.

Merriam-Webster’s Online Dictionary defines outsourcing as the procurement of goods or services needed by a business or organization under contract with an outside supplier. Therefore, when a company in the U.S. creates a call center in the Philippines to provide customer service to its customers, this activity is called outsourcing.

So, maybe exporting and outsourcing aren’t the same, but they could be related because some of the same services that are being sold to other countries, such as accounting and data processing are also being outsourced.

What is being outsourced to foreign countries? Call centers for numerous companies are located all over the world. Just try to get technical help with your Internet or computer and you’ll likely be talking to someone in India or the Philippines. However, Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y. introduced legislation earlier this month that proposes a charge to U.S. companies for calls transferred to a foreign call center. This proposal opens up another can of worms that should test the difference between exporting and outsourcing. Is there an actual service being exported or has this service been outsourced? It may depend on where the initial call is actually answered? If one argues that it is an export, then the proposal may meet with some constitutional challenges under the Export Clause of the Constitution.

U. S. colleges and universities as well as businesses often outsource some of the eLearning development work to India.

One of the newest and most controversial outsourcing ventures is called “medical tourism.” Medical tourism is a term that describes overseas travel for medical treatment and other health care services. Could U.S. citizens be required to travel to foreign countries for medical services? At some of the hospitals in India, U.S. trained doctors can perform heart surgery for $6,000, while the same surgery costs around $100,000 in the U.S. What’s next on the list? So far, I think home improvement projects may be safe. It’s not likely that someone in the Philippines will be able to fix my broken air conditioning unit today.

What does America need to do in order to export more and outsource less when it comes to jobs and services? It might be impossible to export or outsource some personal services such as cleaning and home maintenance, but if we continue to outsource certain services to other countries, what will Americans do? What will we export?

By the way, all of the bcpLearning courses are created and managed using U.S.A. labor. When you contact our support center or call our office, you are talking to someone in the U.S.A.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Recent Suspensions of Export Privileges

As reported in the Federal Register on June 9, 2010, the Bureau of Industry and Security recently suspended the export privileges of the following parties and revoked licenses issued to them under the Export Administration Act or the EAR. Don’t let this happen to you!

Joseph Piquet of Port St. Lucie FL was convicted in May 2009 for conspiracy to purchase high-tech military and dual use electronic components for shipment to Hong Kong and China without the required export licenses. His export privileges have been suspended until May 14, 2019; however, it’s not likely he’ll miss them since he still has another four years to serve on his prison sentence.

Aaron Robert Henderson doing business as Valhalla Tactical Supply of North Liberty, Iowa pleaded guilty in September 2009 for knowingly and willfully exporting sighting devices from the U.S. to Taiwan and Afghanistan without the required licenses. Sentenced to time served and $100 payment to the Crime Victims Fund, his export privileges have been suspended until September 18, 2019.

Shu Quan-Sheng of Newport News, Va. pleaded guilty and was convicted for illegally exporting space launch technical data and defense services to China, as well as offering bribes to Chinese government officials. Export privileges have been suspended until April 10, 2014, however, he won’t likely miss those privileges with approximately three years left to serve on his prison sentence. He is also listed on the Department of State’s Debarred List.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Free Trade Tuesday: NAFTA RVC

In order to determine NAFTA eligibility, a regional value content (RVC) calculation may be required. The RVC is a calculated percentage of the value of the product that represents its North American content. RVC must be calculated using either transaction value or net cost.

For example, plastic boxes classified under 3923.10 made from imported resins of 3901.20, must meet RVC even though it satisfies the tariff shift requirements. . The main areas of the tariff schedule that require a Regional Value Content calculation are automobiles, chemicals, footwear and machinery.

Under the transaction value method, the calculation is made on the value of non-originating materials as a percentage of the transaction value of the goods, which is the total price paid for the good, with certain adjustments for packing and other items. See
19 CFR 152 for additional information on transaction value. The value of the non-originating materials is calculated as a percentage of the invoice price actually paid for the goods. Because the transaction value method permits the producer to count all of its costs and profit, the required percentage of RVC under this method is higher than under the net cost method. Transaction value cannot be used when there is no sale, in some related party transactions and for certain motor vehicles and parts.

Transaction Value Formula: RVC = [(TV-VNM)/TV] X100

TV Example:
An electric curling iron (8516.32) is made in Mexico from Japanese hair curler parts (8516.90). Each curling iron is sold for $4.40; the value of the non-originating curler parts is $1.80. [(4.40-1.80)/4.40] X 100 = 59% The hair curler will not be considered an originating good under this method, since the required RVC is 60%.

RVC using net cost is calculated as a percentage of the net cost to produce the merchandise. Net cost represents all of the costs incurred by the producer, minus expenses for sales promotions, royalties, shipping, packing costs, and non-allowable interest costs. The percentage content required under the net cost method is lower than under transaction value because of the exclusion of certain costs from the net cost calculation.

Net Cost Formula: RVC = [(NC-VNM)/NC] X100

NC Example:
The producer of the curling iron in the TV example states that the cost is $3.90, which includes $0.25 for shipping and packing. There are no costs for royalties, sales promotion or non-allowable interest. The net cost is $3.65. [(3.65-1.80)/3.65] X100 = 50.1% The hair curler would be considered originating, since the required RVC is 50% when the net cost method is used.

Answer to NAFTA Tariff Shift Question 6/1/2010

First, we should look up the HTSUS number provided to make sure it is eligible for duty-free treatment from Singapore. We find the symbol "SG" in the Special subcolumn which indicates that the HTSUS is indeed eligible for duty-free treatment if the non-originating items satisfy the tariff shift. Turning over to General Note 25, we find the tariff shift must be from any other chapter to Chapter 96. All of the non-originating products on our list EXCEPT the toothbrush meets this requirement; therefore, the kit it not eligible for special treatment under the Singapore FTA.

Friday, June 4, 2010

General Trade News

It's been a slow week in trade news, so today's blog contains some interesting tidbits of general interest.

Summer Travel

With schools adjourning for the year and summer on the way, people are planning vacations. Airports will see an increase in travelers for the summer months. If you are planning to fly for personal or business, check out the Summer Travel Tips provided the Transportation Security Administration. Be sure to click on the link that provides additional information on how to pack to get through the line faster! Here’s an additional tip from the Wizard. If you are traveling some place warm, wear sandals. They are easy to slip off and on when going through security!

Importer v. Broker

It’s not uncommon to hear about importers and brokers suing U.S. Customs & Border Protection, but the news of
importers suing customs brokers is rare. Recently, an importer filed a suit under the Lanham Act against a customs broker in Savannah, Georgia. The suit alleges that the broker failed to use “reasonable care” and their actions resulted in the furtherance of the distribution and sale of counterfeit goods. This is an unusual case, since CBP normally places the majority of responsibility on the importer. It will be interesting to learn more about the facts of this case see how it and a similar case filed by the same importer in New Jersey are resolved.

Illegal Exports of Electronic Components

In May, two Chinese nationals and a corporation owned by one of them were found guilty of conspiring to violate U.S. export laws and illegally exporting electronic equipment from the U.S. the China. For more than 10 years, some of the illegal exports were sent to Chinese military entities and included items such as military radar equipment and global positioning systems. Documentation produced revealed that the defendants and employees had knowledge that the restricted goods were being shipped to China without the required export license. The Chinese nationals each face 20 years in prison, $1 million in fines and deportation after serving their sentence. The corporation was fined $1.9 million dollars. Here’s a question from the Wizard. How much of that money with the government actually collect?

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Update on Request for Increase in Informal Entry and De Minimis Amounts

In April 2009, the Express Association of America (EAA) made a request to CBP for an increase in the informal entry amount from $2,000 to $2,500 and the de minimis amount for express couriers from $200 to $800. Just over a year later, Congressman Bill Owens introduced H.R. 5375, a bill to change the de minimis amounts under 19 U.S.C. 1321 from $200 to $1,000. Owens believes the increase would encourage economic developmen and reduce the number of entries filed. The current $200 limit was established in 1993 and has not been adjusted for inflation in 17 years. According to the EAA web site, CBP is working on the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking related to increases proposed last year. Projected publication for comments is late summer or early fall. Maybe by this time next year, we will have a resolution to these requests!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

NAFTA Tariff Shifts

Determining origin for free trade eligibility can be a complex and time consuming task. Use of the global economy often results in raw materials from multiple countries being shipped to one country for manufacture. Does the inclusion of a non-originating good eliminate the finished good from receiving benefits under a free trade agreement?

A non-originating article may be considered originating if that article undergoes a tariff shift. When a rule of origin is based on a change in tariff classification, each of the non-originating materials used in the production of the goods must undergo the applicable change in tariff as a result of production occurring entirely in the territory of one of the parties to the agreement.

This means that the non-originating materials are classified under one tariff provision prior to processing, and classified under another upon completion of processing. The specific rules of origin found in each of the agreements define exactly what change in tariff classification must occur for the goods to be considered "originating." A change in tariff classification may be from one heading in a chapter to another heading in the same chapter. In some cases, the list in GN 12(t) specifies that a shift must be from one specific chapter to another specific chapter.

Example 1- Heading Changes:
A good which will be classified in Chapter 17, under 1704, needs only to have been changed into heading 1704 from any other heading, which may include headings 1701, 1702, or 1703.

Example 2 -Chapter Changes:
In order for a good which is to be classified in Chapter 5 to be eligible under NAFTA, the good must have been changed into a good of Chapter 5 from any other chapter of the HTSUS.

Try the following problem on your own. We’ll provide the answer next week when we examine regional value content (RVC). For additional information, CBP posted a good explanation of
tariff shifts on their web site. Although it is geared towards textile importers, the explanations and examples are helpful.

A travel kit imported into the U.S. from Singapore is classified under HTS 9605.00.0000. The kit contains components that originate in the U.S. or Singapore except for the following non-originating items?

· A plastic case classified under HTS 3923.10
· Sewing thread classified under HTS 5204.20
· Sewing needles classified under HTS 7319.90
· Toothpaste classified under HTS 3306.10
· A toothbrush classified under HTS 9603.21

Is the kit eligible for special treatment under the U.S. – Singapore Free Trade Agreement?