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HQ 085525

December 6, 1989

CLA-2:CO:R:C:G 085525 SER


TARIFF NO.: 2309.90.90

Mr. Viktor Jacobson
Customs Attache: Bonn, West Germany
American Embassy Box 100 APO
New York, NY 09080

RE: Choline chloride Powder

Dear Mr. Jacobson:

This is in reference to your inquiry of August 23, 1989, regarding a letter from the German Ministry of Finance, written on behalf of the German exporting firm BASF, Ludwigshafen, about a difference between the United States and the Federal Republic of Germany, in interpretation of the classification of choline chloride 50% powder under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule.


The product at issue is designated as choline chloride 50% powder. It is mixed with 35 percent colloidal silicic acid; it has a water content of 15 percent and is intended for use in the manufacture of animal feed.


What is the proper classification of the choline chloride under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA)?


The Harmonized Tariff Schedule seeks uniformity in classification systems, participating nations are, nonetheless, free to decide the ultimate classification of goods entering their boundaries. They are not bound by classification rulings of other member nations.

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.

Customs agrees with the argument that the product at issue would be precluded from being classified in subheading 2923.10, HTSUSA. Subheading 2923.10, HTSUSA, provides for choline and its salts. However, Chapter 29 Note 1(a) limits heading 2923, HTSUSA, to separate chemically-defined organic compounds. The product at issue consists of choline chloride mixed with approximately 35 percent colloidal silicic acid and has a water content of approximately 15 percent; thus, it is no longer a separate chemically defined compound as limited by the note.

The inquirer states that the Federal Republic of Germany classifies the product at issue in subheading 2309, HTSUSA. Subheading 2309.90.90, HTSUSA, covers preparations of a kind used in animal feeds. It has consistently been the position of the U.S. Customs Service that proper classification in subheading 2309, HTSUSA, requires the preparation to contain some natural products. The choline chloride is primarily synthetically made and it is not mixed with any other natural product. Thus, consistent with Customs position, the product at issue would not be classifiable in this subheading, notwithstanding the Federal Republic of Germany's classification.

With the classification of the product at issue in the above subheadings precluded, we must examine subheading 3823.90.5050, HTSUSA, which provides for chemical products and preparations of the chemical or allied industries, not elsewhere specified or included. This is a catch-all provision which the product at issue would fall within.


The product at issue, choline chloride powder from the Federal Republic of Germany, would properly be classified in subheading 3823.90.5050, HTSUSA, which provides for chemical products and preparations of the chemical or allied industries, not elsewhere specified or included. The rate of duty is 5 percent ad valorem.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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