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HQ 085127

November 9, 1989

CLA-2:CO:R:C:G 085127 SER


TARIFF NO.: 2008.99.80

Mr. Peter Herrick, Esquire
825 S. Bayshore Drive
Suite 548
Miami, FL 33131
Your File No.: 891060.01

RE: Tamarind product

Dear Mr. Herrick:

This is in reference to your original letter of July 14, 1989, requesting classification of a Tamarind product from Venezuela under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA). A sample was not submitted.


The product at issue is a fruit, Tamarind, that enters the United States in a processed form. The inquirer states that the Tamarind is a rare tropical fruit. The fruit is described as elongated in shape, and is very small, about 3/4"long and about 1/4" in diameter. It has a very hard, rough skin which is described as shell-like. The shell (skin) is said to be thin and brittle, somewhat similar to that of an egg. The fruit is said to contain very little pulp, and the pulp surrounds large seeds. The pulp of the Tamarind is described as being quite dry and very sticky. It is described as being drier than the meat of a pear, but of a different texture. For these reasons, the fruit must originally be processed manually, since it is not suitable for processing by automated machines.

The brittle shell is removed by hand. Once the skin is removed, water is added to separate the pulp of the fruit from the seeds. This is done by placing the pulp in five gallon pails. The mixture of pulp and water is then processed in a "standard" pulping machine. This machine consists of paddles which are applied to break up the pulp of the fruit. This is described as the process of "reduction". The pulp-water mixture is then strained through a screen, separating the seeds and any pieces of shell or other matter from the mixture. The seeds and other matter is disregarded and the strained mixture retained. The stained mixture is then further processed in a "finishing
machine". The consistency is controlled by the amount of water, duration of process, and the grading of the screens used. During the processing, the product is not heated or dried, nor is water removed. No sugars, sweeteners or preservatives are added.

The result is a product which is about 50 percent solids, the remainder being liquid. This is then reduced leaving a product which is still somewhat liquid. It is described as like a puree, but liquid and pasty. It is described as more liquid than applesauce, but not a juice. It is in this form that the merchandise at issue is imported. After importation, the product is further processed into a nectar in Puerto Rico.


What is the proper classification of the tamarind product under the HTSUSA?


Classification of goods under the HTSUSA, is governed by the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI), taken in order. GRI 1 provides that classification shall be determined according to the terms of the Headings and any relative Section or Chapter Notes.

The inquirer states that the product at issue is possibly classifiable under subheading 0813.40.80, HTSUSA. The Explanatory Notes constitute the official interpretation of the statute at the international level. The Explanatory Notes to subheading 0813, HTSUSA, limit inclusion into the subheading to products which have been dried. The product at issue is not dried, nor is water removed, instead water is added to the product. Thus, the product at issue can not be properly classified within this subheading.

Subheading 2008.99.80, HTSUSA, provides for (f)ruit . . . otherwise prepared or preserved, not elsewhere specified or included: other: pulp. The inquirer states a definition which describes pulp as "a soft mass of vegetable matter from which most of the water has been extracted." But, it has consistently been the position of Customs that the main element of what defines pulp is that it derive from the fleshy part of a fruit. Had the position of the inquirer been accepted the product at issue would no longer be in classifiable under heading 2008, HTSUSA, it would instead most likely be classified in heading 2106, HTSUSA. This variance from the Customs definition of pulp would not be consistent with Customs consistent position on products of a similar nature.


The merchandise at issue is properly classifiable under subheading 2008.99.80, HTSUSA, which provides for fruit, nuts and other edible parts of plants, otherwise prepared or preserved, whether or not containing added sugar or other sweetening matter or spirit, not elsewhere specified or included: other: pulp. The rate of duty is 15 percent ad valorem.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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