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HQ 085803

December 28, 1989

CLA-2 CO:R:C:G 085803 NLP


TARIFF NO.: 2008.99.1000

Mr. Paul Rosenthal, Esq.
Mr. Michael Kershow, Esq.
Collier, Shannon & Scott
1055 Thomas Jefferson Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20007

RE: Reconsideration of New York Ruling 838970

Dear Sirs:

This is in response to your letter of August 9, 1989, requesting a reconsideration of New York Ruling Letter (NYRL) 838970, which addressed the classification of nine varieties of guacamole and an avocado pulp product, imported from Mexico, under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS). In addition, your letter requested a HTSUS tariff classification of an avocado sauce product.


The merchandise under consideration is nine varieties of guacamole and one variety of avocado sauce. The guacamole is composed primarily of avocados. The percentage of avocados in the various guacamoles ranges from 63 to 91 percent. The other ingredients in the guacamole include lime juice, peppers, onion, garlic, sugar, flour, salt, sour cream, spices and water. The avocado sauce is composed of avocados, water and other flavoring ingredients. The avocados make up 26% of the weight of the avocado sauce, while the water composes 59.77% of the weight of the sauce.

On April 18, 1989, the New York Area Director of Customs issued NYRL 838970 classifying nine varieties of guacamole and an avocado pulp product. NYRL 838970 classified both the guacamole products and the avocado pulp product in 2008.99.1000, which provides for fruit...otherwise prepared or preserved...not elsewhere specified or included...other... avocados. You requested reconsideration of the HTSUS classification of the guacamole products.


1. Whether the guacamole is classifiable in subheading 2008.99.1000 as fruit...otherwise prepared or preserved... not elsewhere specified or included...other...avocados, or in subheading 2103.90.6000, which provides for sauces and preparations therefor; mixed condiments and mixed seasonings;...Other: Other.?

2. What is the classification of the avocado sauce under the HTSUS?



Classification of goods under the HTSUS is governed by the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's), 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. It is your belief that the guacamole should be classified in heading 2103 as a sauce. It is the opinion of this office that heading 2103 does not encompass the nine varieties of guacamole at issue.

Heading 2103 provides for sauces and preparations therefor; mixed condiments and mixed seasonings. The Explanatory Notes to heading 21.03 state that:

This heading covers preparations, generally of a highly spiced character, used to flavour certain dishes (meat, fish, salads, etc.), and made from various ingredients (eggs, vegetables, meat, fruit, flours, starches, oil, vinegar, sugar, spices, mustard, flavorings, etc.). Sauces are generally in liquid form and preparations for sauces are usually in the form of powders to which only milk, water, etc. need to be added to obtain a sauce.

The heading includes certain products based on vegetables or fruit, but these differ from the preserved products in Chapter 20 in that they are mainly liquids, emulsions or suspensions containing very little solid matter....

At first glance, guacamole appears to be similar to sauces. For example, guacamole is used as a dip, it is used as a spread on breads or crackers, and it is made from various ingredients. However, there are certain differences between sauces and guacamole that exclude guacamole from heading 2103. First, while a sauce is used to add flavor to a food dish or as an accompaniment, it is not a product eaten alone, either for its own sake or to stimulate the appetite. Second, guacamole, while homogenous, is of a substantially thicker and heavier consistency than ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise, or any of the other products described in heading 2103. Third, when used as a "dressing" on sandwiches, guacamole is applied in a considerable quantity, in no way comparable to mayonnaise, mustard or ketchup.

In short, guacamole is clearly a product consumed for its own sake. It is not, therefore, a sauce, but a fruit preparation with an independent commercial identity. Thus, the nine varieties of guacamole, the subject of ruling 838970, are properly classified in subheading 2008.99.1000.


The avocado sauce was not ruled on in NYRL 838970. This product is identified and marketed as a "sauce". More importantly, the avocado sauce contains a considerable amount of water and a smaller quantity of avocado, as compared to the nine varieties of guacamole. The amount of water is 59.77% and the amount of avocado is 26%. The only question is whether the avocado sauce is a finished food product, used directly as a condiment for food, or as an ingredient used in the preparation of a sauce. If it is a finished food product, the product would be classified as a sauce in subheading 2103.90.6000, which provides for sauces and preparations therefor; mixed condiments and mixed seasonings...Other: Other. If it is an ingredient used in the preparation of a sauce, it would be classified in subheading 2106.90.6090, which provides for food preparations not elsewhere specified or included: Other: Other: Other. In the absence of a sample and information as to how the product is marketed, we cannot provide a definite ruling on the avocado sauce.


The nine varieties of guacamole are classifiable in subheading 2008.99.1000 which provides for fruit...otherwise prepared or preserved...not elsewhere specified or included...other...avocados. The rate of duty is 13.2 c /kg.

Pursuant to Section 502(a)(3) of the Trade Act of 1974 (19 U.S.C. Section 2652(a)(3)) and General Note 3(c)(ii)(A), HTSUS, Mexico has been designated a beneficiary developing country for the purposes of the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP), provided for in Title V of the Trade Act of 1974, as amended (19 U.S.C. Section 2461, et seq.). Provided all applicable requirements are met under the GSP program, the avocado sauce, if classifiable in subheading 2103.90.6000 or subheading 2106.90.6090, may be entered free of duty.

NYRL 838970 is affirmed.


John Durant, Director

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