United States International Trade Commision Rulings And Harmonized Tariff Schedule
faqs.org  Rulings By Number  Rulings By Category  Tariff Numbers
faqs.org > Rulings and Tariffs Home > Rulings By Number > 1992 HQ Rulings > HQ 0556320 - HQ 0734154 > HQ 0556320

Previous Ruling Next Ruling

HQ 556320

February 3, 1992
CLA-2 CO:R:C:S 556320 SER


TARIFF NO.: 9802.00.50

Margaret R. Polito, Esq.
Coudert Brothers
200 Park Avenue
New York, NY 10166

RE: Applicability of partial duty exemption for certain herbicides; 19 CFR 10.8; HRL 555740

Dear Ms. Polito:

This is in reference to your letter of September 13, 1991, on behalf of E.I. Du Pont de Nemours & Co., Inc. ("Du Pont"), concerning the applicability of the partial duty exemption under subheading 9802.00.50, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA), to six herbicides imported from France or Australia.

You requested that confidential treatment be accorded under 5 U.S.C. 552(b) and 19 CFR 103.12(d) regarding certain proprietary information included in your submission. You state that the release of this information would cause significant harm to the importer. As requested, confidential treatment will be accorded to the portions of your request that are marked "confidential". The proprietary information is not included in this ruling letter.


Du Pont produces six different sulfonylurea-based herbicides in the U.S. These herbicides are designed for commercial agricultural applications, and are intended to impair the growth of weeds without causing injury to the cash crops or the soil in which they are grown.

The basic herbicides are created in the U.S. by a chemical reaction between two intermediate chemicals which create a new molecule with a different chemical structure. The resulting products, when mixed with water, are stated to be capable of use as a herbicide. However, in an effort to make these herbicides more marketable and more "user friendly", primarily by allowing for easier dissolution in water and easier capability of measurement, Du Pont exports the herbicides to France or

Australia where they are subjected to processes of formulation and granulation. These processes eliminate the product's powdery consistency which makes the chemical difficult to measure, as well as minimize the agitation required to disperse the chemical in water.

The actual formulation and granulation process, in France or Australia, involves mixing each of the six herbicides, in varying quantities, with dispersants, diluents, wetting agents, and, in regard to some of the herbicides, with binders, buffers, and defoamers. The addition of these ingredients creates the desired characteristics in the herbicides. After the herbicides have been formulated, they are placed into a granulator and sprayed with water so that the fine powder clumps into coarser grains. Thereafter, the water is removed by the application of heat, and irregular sized grains are sifted out. As stated, the purpose of the granulation process is to render the herbicides easier to measure, but it does not change the chemical composition of the active and primary ingredients of the herbicides.

The imported herbicides are designated as: Accent 75 DF, Escort 60 DF, Ally 60 DF, Glean 75 DF, and Harmony 75 DF, Londax 60 DF.


Whether the formulation and granulation processes performed abroad on the U.S.-origin herbicides constitute an alteration, thereby entitling them to the partial duty exemption available under subheading 9802.00.50, HTSUSA, when returned to the U.S.


Articles returned to the U.S. after having been exported to be advanced in value or improved in condition by repairs or alterations may qualify for the partial duty exemption under HTSUSA subheading 9802.00.50, provided the foreign operation does not destroy the identity of the exported articles or create new or different articles through a process of manufacture. Accordingly, entitlement to this tariff treatment is precluded where the exported articles are incomplete for their intended purpose prior to the foreign processing. Dolliff & Company Inc., v. United States, 455 F.Supp. 618 (1978), 599 F.2d 1015 (1979).

Articles entitled to this partial duty exemption are dutiable only upon the cost or value of the foreign repairs or alterations when returned to the U.S., provided the documentary requirements of section 10.8 Customs Regulations (19 CFR 10.8), are satisfied.

In Headquarters Ruling Letter (HRL) 555740 dated May 28, 1991, Customs held that formulation and granulation operations (virtually identical to the operations in this case), performed on a herbicide constituted an alteration within the meaning of subheading 9802.00.50, HTSUSA. In that ruling, the herbicide in its condition upon exportation from the U.S. was considered complete for its intended use as an herbicide, and, in fact, could have been marketed within the agricultural industry in that condition. It was determined, based largely on the fact that directions for use of the herbicide in its condition as exported were included as part of the registration statement filed with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), that a market existed for the U.S.-origin herbicide.

In HRL 555740, Customs also found that, since the chemical composition was not changed by the addition of the diluents, dispersants, wetting agents, buffers, etc., the identity of the exported herbicides was not destroyed. In addition, the foreign operations did not appear to result in any significant change in the quality or character of the herbicide, inasmuch as the herbicide retained its weed killing properties. Therefore, the formulation and granulation operations were held to be an alteration under this subheading.

The foreign operations at issue in this case are nearly identical to those addressed in HRL 555740. Therefore, consistent with HRL 555740, we find that the operations in the instant case constitute an alteration within the meaning of subheading 9802.00.50, HTSUSA.


On the basis of the information submitted, we find that the formulation and granulation processes constitute an alteration within the meaning of subheading 9802.00.50, HTSUSA. Therefore, the herbicides will be entitled to classification under this tariff provision with duty to be assessed only on the cost or value of the operations performed in France or Australia, upon compliance with the documentary requirements of 19 CFR 10.8.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

Previous Ruling Next Ruling

See also: