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HQ 089741

October 15, 1991

CLA-2 CO:R:C:F 089741 ALS


TARIFF NO.: 0405.00.70

Mr. Roland Huynh
Max Asie (U.S.A.) Inc.
P.O. Box 6789
Alhambra, CA 91802

RE: Butter in Tins

Dear Mr. Huynh:

This is in reference to your inquiry of June 13, 1991, regarding the tariff classification and quota status of certain butter.


The product, butter in tins, is described as fresh pasteurized, salted to a maximum of 3 percent, packed in tins with a net weight of 250 grams each. A sample of the product was found to consist of a pale yellow material with the waxy consistency of butter. A laboratory analysis of the sample indicated that it contained 84.3 percent butterfat and 2 percent salt, by weight. The moisture content was noted to be between 12 and 13 percent by weight.


What is the tariff classification and relative quota status of butter packed in tins?


Classification of merchandise under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA) is governed by the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's) taken in order. GRI 1 provides that the classification is determined first in accordance with the terms of the headings and any relative section and chapter notes. If GRI 1 fails to classify the goods, and if the heading and legal notes do not otherwise require, the remaining GRI's are applied, taken in order.

The product under consideration contains over 80 percent butterfat by weight with the balance consisting of various milk constituents. The product meets the definition for butter found in 21 United States Code 321a which provides that the food product known as butter is made from "milk or cream, or both, with or without common salt, and with or without additional coloring matter, and containing not less than 80 per centum by weight of milk fat,..."

The HTSUSA does not provide a definition of the term butter. However, in the Summaries of Trade and Tariff Information, Volume 4 (1968), published by the United States Tariff Commission (predecessor of the United States International Trade Commission) in TC Publication 240, page 45, butter is described as the solidified fat of milk churned from cream. That document which describes the treatment of the product under the Tariff Schedules of the United States (TSUS), the tariff that was replaced by the HTSUSA, notes that imports of that product have contained not less that 80 percent of milk fat and have met the statutory definition for the product.

The provisions for dairy products are found in Chapter 4 of the HTSUSA. Subheading 0405.00.70 therein specifically provides for butter as described in Additional U.S. note 1 (b) to Chapter 4. That note provides for the application of the specified rate of duty to certain quantities of the product entered at 3 specified times during the year. Explanatory Note 04.05 to the Harmonized System, which represents the view of the international experts as to the interpretation of the HTSUSA provision at that level, states that heading 0405 "applies to natural butter (fresh or salted, including canned butter) and other fats and oils derived from milk (e.g., milk-fat, butterfat, butteroil)."

In accord with the aforementioned sources, the article under consideration is classifiable as butter.


Butter packed in tins is classifiable under subheading 0405.00.70, HTSUSA, and subject to a general rate of duty of 12.3/kg.

Articles classifiable under the aforementioned subheading are subject to the quantitative restrictions of subheading 9904.10.21, HTSUSA, which limits the amount of such products which may be imported from other countries to an annual quota quantity of 320,689 kilograms. Additionally, an import license, issued to the importer by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, will be required at the time such merchandise is entered for consumption.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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