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HQ 085374

October 3, 1989

CLA-2 CO:R:C:G 085374 SLR


TARIFF NO.: 0504.00.0020; 0504.00.0040

Mr. Lee Hardeman
International Transportation Services
P.O. Box 45545
Atlanta, GA 30320-0545

RE: Animal Casings

Dear Mr. Hardeman:

This ruling is in response to your letter of July 11, 1989, on behalf of your client, Atlas Casing Company, requesting the classification of natural animal casings under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA). Samples were provided for our examination.


The instant merchandise is described as the small intestines of hogs, sheep, and beef which are purchased from U.S. slaughterhouses. U.S. processors rid the small intestine of ruffle fat, manure, and any excess residue. The casing is then cured in a salt solution. After curing, the casings are packed in pure salt in large barrels and shipped to China. There, processors wash the casings then inspect them for tears. The casings are then cut and grouped according to size, repacked in the same barrels, and returned to the United States.

In your letter, you express some confusion as to whether the casings are classifiable under subheading 0504.00.0020, HTSUSA, guts, bladders...for sausage casings, or subheading 9801.00.1035, HTSUSA, American goods returned.


What is the proper classification of natural animal casings under the HTSUSA; and, what is their country of origin, for marking purposes, upon their return to the U.S.?


Classification of merchandise under the HTSUSA is in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI), taken in order. GRI 1 provides that classification is determined according to the terms of the headings and any relevant section or chapter notes.

The merchandise in issue falls squarely within the ambit of subheadings 0504.00.0020 and 0504.00.0040, HTSUSA, which provides for guts, bladders and stomachs of animals (other than fish), whole and pieces thereof, prepared for use as sausage casings, from hogs or from animals other than hogs.

The processing performed in China advances the casings in value and improves their condition. Consequently, they are not entitled to free entry under subheading 9801.00.1035, HTSUSA. Since the processing in China is a step in the completion of the casings, and does not constitute the alteration (or repair) of a finished product, the provisions of subheading 9802.00.50, HTSUSA, are also inapplicable.

As to marking, the processing in China does not substantially transform the casings into a new and different article of commerce; hence, pursuant to 19 CFR 134.32(m), this product is exempt from marking requirements. This determination, however, is not tantamount to an approval of marking the article as "Product of the U.S." As a matter of policy, Customs never gives explicit approval to marking indicating U.S. origin. We ordinarily defer such authority to the FTC. Here, it appears that the USDA requires marking indicating domestic origin. This being the case, Customs would not reject an importation of casings so marked.


The instant casings are classifiable under the provision for guts, bladders and stomachs of animals (other than fish), whole and pieces thereof, prepared for use as sausage casings in heading 0504.00.00, HTSUSA, and free of duty. If hog casings, they are classifiable in subheading 0504.00.0020, HTSUSA. If beef or sheep casings, they are classifiable in subheading 0504.00.0040, HTSUSA. This product is exempt from Customs marking requirements. Please contact FTC or USDA for further information regarding any other marking requirements.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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