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HQ 089013

August 2, 1991

CLA-2 CO:R:C:F 089013 ALS


TARIFF NO.: 0713.39.10

District Director of Customs
P.O. Box 610
112 West Stutsman
Pembina, North Dakota 58271

RE: Request for Further Review of Protest 3401-91-100009, dated March 20, 1991, Concerning Bean Cull Screenings

Dear Mr. Hagerty:

This ruling is on a protest that was filed against your decisions in the liquidations of 3 entries, one on December 21, 1990, and 2 on December 28, 1990.


The article under consideration is bean cull screenings left after extracting mature beans, by screening, sifting, aspiration, electric eye sorting and, if necessary, drying, mature whole beans (genus: Phaseolus vulgaris) of a uniform size that would meet the demands of packagers and canners. These screenings are composed of whole beans that are too small for processing and beans that are damaged or cracked.


What is the classification of mixtures of beans (Phaseolus vulgaris) which are damaged (cracked, split, or have checked seed coats) or are immature (small) which are rejected as not suitable for processing?


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 protestant states that these "screenings" are not suitable for human consumption because beans with a damaged/cracked seed coat break down during cooking due to the ingress of moisture. Likewise immature (small) beans remain vitreous/solid and not palatable. Accordingly, bean cull screenings are used for animal feed. The protestant suggests that the bean cull screenings are the residue left after extracting good mature sound whole bean of a uniform size. The protestant further suggests that such screenings should be considered as vegetable residue of a kind used for animal feeding and should be classified under subheading 2308.90.80, HTSUSA.

In order to evaluate the protestant's arguments, we referred to the Explanatory Notes (EN) to the Harmonized System, which represent the official interpretation of that System at the international level. We note in particular, in EN 23.08, which covers heading 2308, HTSUSA, that the type of vegetable residues and by-products covered thereby are those "...from the industrial processing of vegetable materials in order to extract some of their constituents." The examples provided in EN 23.08 make it clear that industrial processing causes a change in the physical characteristics of the article by processes such as crushing, peeling, etc. The available information does not indicate that the processing of the beans produces any change in the beans. It merely sorts and separates beans with acceptable characteristics from those with unacceptable characteristics. Thus, while the screenings could, in a general sense, be considered "residue", i.e., "the remainder of something after removal of a part", as defined in The American Heritage Dictionary, Second College Edition, such residue is not produced from the industrial processing of vegetable materials. Accordingly, the screenings, although they are used for animal feed, are not properly classifiable under heading 2308, HTSUSA.

We next considered classification of the bean cull screenings under the provisions of chapter 7, HTSUSA, which covers edible vegetables. The chapter notes of that chapter as well as the general notes to the relative EN's provide that fresh or dried vegetables fall in this chapter whether intended for use as food, for sowing or for planting. Leguminous vegetables are a specifically referenced example thereof. Further, EN 07.13, which covers heading 0713, HTSUSA, where such vegetables are classified, states that the vegetables can be of a kind used for human or animal consumption.

The protestant refers to the variety as a mixture. In order to determine whether the variety of beans constitute a mixture for tariff purposes, we referred to GRI 2 and GRI 3. Based thereon, we see that mixtures, for tariff purposes, are composite goods consisting of different materials or substances. While the screenings are composed of a variety of beans of the genus and species Phaseolus vulgaris, we do not see a composite of goods consisting of different materials or substances. We have thus concluded that screenings are not a mixture for tariff purposes. Thus, it is not necessary to consider the classification of the screenings under GRI 3. Even if the screenings could be considered a mixture for tariff purposes, we note that there is no provision under heading 0713, HTSUSA, for mixtures.

This leaves a question as to the nature of the screenings which are composed of a variety of beans. Some of the beans are whole but are too small to be suitable for dry bean processing. Some of the beans are damaged and are also unsuitable for processing. It thus appears that some of the beans would be considered a combination of whole beans which are classifiable in a grouping of seeds of a kind used for sowing under the HTSUSA since seeds and vegetables are not separated therein. As noted in HRL 086216 of March 27, 1990, that phrase does not demand that the seeds themselves be actually used to reproduce, or be placed in the ground. The subheading only suggests their similarity to such seeds. Presuming that the damaged beans are not suitable for sowing, they would be classifiable under another subheading at a different rate of duty. Thus, varying quantities of each shipment of beans would be subject to different rates of duty and would, pursuant to General Note 5 to the HTSUSA, be considered commingled since the quantity and value of each class of goods cannot be readily ascertained. In accordance with General Note 5, the beans would be subject to the highest rate of duty - 4 -
applicable to any part thereof unless the consignee or his agent segregates the goods. Since it does not appear to be practicable to segregate the varying portions of the screenings, they would be classifiable under the provision for seeds of a kind used for sowing which provides for the highest rate applicable to any part thereof.

We must next consider the appropriate subheading for the commingled beans. Subheading 0713.33, HTSUSA, provides for Kidney beans, including white pea beans (Phaseolus vulgaris). The breakdown thereunder provides for seeds of a kind used for sowing and other. Subheading 0713.39, HTSUSA, provides for beans (Vigna spp., Phaseolus spp.) and provides for a similar breakdown thereunder. A question arises as to which subheading is appropriate for classification purposes. While subheading 0713.33, HTSUSA, would seem to indicate that all Phaseolus vulgaris beans should be classified thereunder, we note that some of beans specifically named under subheading 0713.39, HTSUSA, e.g. Pinto beans, are Phaseolus vulgaris beans. We note that subheading 0713.39, HTSUSA, covers Phaseolus spp. (Phaseolus species - plural) which includes Phaseolus vulgaris and that subheading 0713.33, HTSUSA, seems to be limited to certain beans of such genus and species. Since the variety of beans involved in any shipment of screenings is not a constant and will apparently vary by shipment, we believe that it is appropriate to classify them under the broader subheading covering beans.


The bean cull screenings, consisting of a variety of whole and damaged beans of the Phaseolus vulgaris species and genus are classifiable under subheading 0713.39.10, HTSUSA, as dried leguminous vegetables, beans, other, seeds of a kind used for sowing, and dutiable at a general rate of 3.3?/kg.

If the beans are goods originating in Canada in accordance with General Note 3(c)(vii)(B), HTSUSA, they may be eligible for a reduced rate of duty, 2.3?/kg, upon compliance with the provisions of the United States - Canada Free Trade Agreement (FTA) and section 10.301 et seq., Customs Regulations (19 CFR 10.301 et seq.).

Since the rate of duty under the classification indicated above is the same as the liquidated rate, you are instructed to deny the protest in full.

A copy of this ruling should be attached to the Form 19 Notice of Action furnished the protestant.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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