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HQ 082230

January 12, 1989

CLA-2 CO:R:C:G 082230 JGH



Eric R. Markus, Esq.
Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering
2445 M Street, NW.
Washington, D.C. 20037-1420

RE: Tariff classification of sugar blends

Dear Mr. Markus:

This is in response to your petition of April 22, 1988, under section 516, Tariff Act of 1930, as amended, filed on behalf of the United States Cane Sugar Association and the United States Beet Sugar Association, concerning the tariff classifi- cation and quota status of imported blends of sugar and dextrose.

Your letter is being treated as a request for an information letter under section 175.1 of the Customs Regulations (19 CFR 175.1) setting forth Customs position as to the tariff classifi- cations of the merchandise.


In your letter you state that these blends are being imported in various combinations. Specifically, you identify blends consisting of approximately 80 percent sugar and 20 percent dextrose, and other blends of approximately 65 percent sugar and 35 percent dextrose. In addition to the foregoing described blends, you assert that other imported sugar blends of 81 percent and 95 percent sugar have also been imported. These products, you maintain, are competitive and virtually identical with domestically produced sugar blends.


What is the proper classification of sugar blends under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS)?


It is your position that the blends in question are sugar under the tariff and not retail food products. You believe that they should be classified as sugar.

Customs has classified these blends as products made from sugar, having a valid commercial identity, rather than as sugar itself. Where the blend was packed for retail sale (e.g., 5 lb. bags) it was classified under the provision for other edible preparations, not specially provided for in item 183.05, TSUS.

Essentially, it is your position that the "high content sugar blends" are not traditional sugar products of a type classifiable in item 183.05, regardless of whether or not they are packaged for retail sale. You believe that they are merely blends possessing the general characteristics of the dominant component, sucrose. Moreover, you maintain that the characteristics and uses of these sugar blends are identical to those of granulated sugar. Furthermore, you point out that under headnote 1, part 15, Schedule 1, TSUS, foods classifiable under other provisions in Schedule 1 are not classifiable as edible preparations and it is your belief that these blends are classifiable under the sugar schedule.

Under the HTS, the provision which corresponds to the TSUS item 183.05 for other edible preparations is heading 2106, for food preparations not elsewhere specified or included. For TSUS item 155.20, cane or beet sugar, the corresponding HTS provision would be heading 1701. Goods are classified in the HTS in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI). The first two rules concern the classification of products according to the applicable HTS headings. However, in a case such as this, where you have a mixture which is not specifically described, but is prima facie classifiable under two headings, each of which refers to part only of the material contained in the mixture, GRI 3(b) provides that mixtures consisting of different materials shall be classified as if they consisted of the material which imparts the essential character.


In this case, the mixture or blends are mere mixtures of two products classifiable in Chapter 17. Such a mixture does not ipso facto render the blend a food preparation; the act of mixing does not alter the nature or use of the product such that it would no longer be classifiable in Chapter 17. Whether the blends are of 80 percent sucrose and 20 percent dextrose or 65
percent sucrose and 35 percent dextrose, by application of GRI 3(b) they are considered sugar classifiable in subheading 1701.99.00, HTS, for cane or beet sugar, and subject to the quota allocations in additional U.S. note 3 to Chapter 17, HTS.


John Durant, Director

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