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 0734443 - HQ 0950036 > HQ 0950002

Previous Ruling Next Ruling

HQ 950002

November 13, 1991

CLA-2 CO:R:C:F 950002 LPF


TARIFF NO.: 2008.99.9090

Mr. Bennett Johnson
Nissin Customs Service, Inc.
1111 Watsoncenter Road, Unit-D
Carson, CA 90745

RE: Modification of New York Ruling Letter (NYRL) 845822; Dried Seaweed under subheading 2008.99.9090, HTSUSA, providing for other edible parts of plants, otherwise prepared or preserved

Dear Mr. Johnson:

In NYRL 845822 issued October 5, 1989, dried seaweed from Japan, called Yakinori, was classified in subheading 1212.20.0000, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA), providing for seaweeds and other algae. The general column one rate of duty provided that the item was duty free. Subsequently, we have reviewed that ruling and have found it to be in error. The correct classification is as follows.


The product at issue is dried, roasted seaweed (Yakinori) from Japan. The seaweed contains no other substances and is used in the preparation of food, such as sushi.


Whether the dried seaweed is properly classifiable as seaweed or other algae in subheading 1212.20.2000, HTSUSA, or as an other edible part of a plant otherwise prepared or preserved in subheading 2008.99.9090, HTSUSA.


The General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's) taken in their appropriate order provide a framework for classification of merchandise under the HTSUSA. The majority of imported goods are classified by application of GRI 1, that is, according to the terms of the headings of the tariff schedule and any relative section or chapter notes. In the event that the goods cannot be classified solely on the basis of GRI 1, and if the headings and legal notes do not otherwise require, the remaining GRI's may then be applied.

Heading 1212, HTSUSA, covers, among other products, seaweed. The Explanatory Notes to the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System represent the official interpretation of the tariff at the international level and offer guidance in understanding the scope of the heading. The Explanatory Note to heading 1212, HTSUSA, explains that this heading covers:

[A]ll seaweeds and other algae, whether or not edible. They may be fresh, dried or ground....

Thus, the seaweed of heading 1212, HTSUSA, is limited to seaweed primarily in its natural, that is, non prepared state, except for drying or reduction in size.

The products of Chapters 20 and 21, HTSUSA, illustrate that cooking, roasting, preserving or adding other ingredients may transform a primarily raw or natural product to a food preparation. Since the dried seaweed, or Yakinori, is roasted, the product is classifiable in heading 2008, HTSUSA, which provides for other edible parts of plants, otherwise prepared or preserved, not elsewhere specified or included.

This classification is in conformity with the basic structure of the tariff schedule. In general, HTSUSA chapters are organized to reflect the processing stages of a material or product. For instance, Chapter 12, HTSUSA, includes primarily raw or unmanufactured products. Chapters 20 and 21, HTSUSA, include Chapter 12 products further prepared, that is, food preparations, for human consumption.


The dried seaweed is classifiable in subheading 2008.99.9090, HTSUSA, which provides for, "Fruit, nuts and other edible parts of plants, otherwise prepared or preserved, whether or not containing added sugar or other sweetening matter or spirit, not elsewhere specified or included: other, including mixtures other that those of subheading 2008.19: Other: Other: Other, Other". The general column one rate of duty is 7 percent ad valorem.

This notice should be considered a modification of NYRL 845822 pursuant to 19 CFR 177.9(d)(1). It is not to be applied retroactively to NYRL 845822 (19 CFR 177.9(d)(2)) and will not, therefore, affect past transactions for the importation of your client's merchandise under that ruling. However, for the purposes of future transactions in merchandise of this type, NYRL 845822 will not be valid precedent. We recognize that pending transactions may be adversely affected by this modification, in that current contracts for importations arriving at a port subsequent to this decision will be classified pursuant to it. If such a situation arises, your client may, at its discretion, notify this office and apply for relief from the binding effects of this decision as may be warranted by the circumstances.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

Previous Ruling Next Ruling

See also: