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HQ 081768

December 1, 1988

CLA-2 CO:R:C:G 081768 JGH


TARIFF NO.: 480.50; 3104.20.00

Nr. Alastair G. Moran
C-I-L House
P.O. Box 200, Station "A"
North York, Ontario M2N 6H2

RE: Classification of sulfur-coated muriate of potash

Dear Sir:

Your letter of December 16, 1987, to the Customs Service at New York concerning the tariff classification of sulfur-coated muriate of potash (SCMOP) has been referred to this office for reply.


The product is said to be produced by applying a coating of sulfur to granules of muriate of potash. The sulfur-coated granule is layered with a conditioning agent comprising, primarily, wax and clay which allows the product to flow freely. The sulfur coating slows the release of the nutrient giving SCMOP a longer life after application. It is noted that it is used almost exclusively in the horticultural industry for nursery plants, specialty vegetables and other products with high cash value.


Whether SCMOP is classifiable as muriate of potash in item 480.50, TSUS, or other potassic fertilizers in item 480.75, TSUS.


It is contended that the provision for muriate of potash does not adequately describe SCMOP, and that in terms of value, composition, and use, the product is something more than muriate of potash. The court has stated that the "more than" doctrine is a well-settled principle that where an article is in character or function something other than as described by a specific statu- tory provision, either more limited or more diversified, and the
difference is significant, it can not find classification within such provision. It is said to be more than the article described in the statute. By contrast where the difference is in the nature of improvement or amplification, and the essential character is preserved or only incidentally altered, the applicable rule is that an unlimited eo nomine statutory designation includes all forms of the article in the absence of a contrary legislative intent or commercial designation. Robert Bosch Corp. v. United States, 63 Cust. Ct. 96, 103, C.D. 3881 (1969).

SCMOP is a controlled release form of muriate of potash, a product which is provided for by name in the tariff. The sulfur coating, in providing a barrier between the nutrient and the soil, controls the rate at which the potash enters the soil. As stated in the above definition, where the difference in the product amounts to an improvement and the essential character is preserved, the classification would not change. While the sulfur might possess some nutrient value, its primary function is to control the release of the potash to the soil. This amounts to an improved form of muriate of potash but not a totally new and different product. In general, Customs has classified controlled release products under the pertinent eo nomine provision. For example, ammonium nitrate pills, a form of the fertilizer which is coated to provide a time release function, is classified as ammonium nitrate under the provision for nitrate fertilizers in item 480.65, TSUS.


SCMOP is classifiable under the provision for muriate of potash in item 480.50, TSUS.

Under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUSA), effective on January 1, 1989, SCMOP is classifiable under subheading 3104.20.00, potassium chloride. The classification represents the present position of the Customs Service regarding the dutiable status of the merchandise under the HTSUSA. If there are any changes before the effective date this advice may not continue to be applicable.


John Durant, Director

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