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 > 1993 HQ Rulings > HQ 0223198 - HQ 0223539 > HQ 0223331

Previous Ruling Next Ruling

HQ 223331

November 25, 1992

MAI-6/LIQ-10-CO:R:C:E 223331 DHS


John S. Rode, Esq.
Rode & Qualey
295 Madison Avenue
New York, New York 10017

RE: Entry by mail of foreign coffee into Puerto Rico from the U.S.; 19 U.S.C. 1319; 19 CFR 7.1(c); 19 CFR 145.11

Dear Mr. Rode:

This is in reference to your letter of July 10, 1991, on behalf of your client Gevalia Kaffee Import Service of Victor Th. Engwell & Co. Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Kraft General Foods Inc., in which you have requested a ruling on the requirements for shipping coffee by mail from the U.S. into Puerto Rico.


The facts presented in your submission state that your client imports coffee from Sweden to its distribution center located in Pennsylvania. Upon receipt of an order, Gevalia ships one pound of coffee on a trial basis, followed by two or more pounds of coffee every six weeks to each of its customers.

Gevalia proposes to ship coffee to customers in Puerto Rico in the same manner. Specifically, individual packages of coffee containing two or more cardboard boxes each filled with a foil pouch holding one-half pound of coffee would be prepared to be mailed via the U.S. Postal Service to the individual customer in Puerto Rico.

An invoice will either be attached to the outside of the box or enclosed within the package. This invoice will describe the contents and identify the individual who purchased the coffee.

Additionally, a Parcel Post Declaration (PS Form 2966-A) will be affixed to the outside of the shipping package. This form will provide the name and address of the seller in the U.S., the name and address of the purchaser in Puerto Rico, the net weight of the coffee (in pounds) included in the shipment, a description of the product (e.g., "coffee, roasted, ground, product of Sweden"), and the value (no shipment will exceed $1,250.00 and will typically be less than $50.00), stated as the price at which the coffee was sold to the customer.


What is the required importation procedure for completing and submitting a declaration and invoice for a shipment of foreign coffee through the mail from the U.S. to Puerto Rico?


Section 319 of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended (19 U.S.C. 1319), empowers the legislature of Puerto Rico to impose tariff duties upon coffee imported into Puerto Rico including coffee grown in a foreign country coming into Puerto Rico from the U.S.. The U.S. Customs Service is the recognized body for collection of these duties.

Since a regular entry shall be made and no special Customs invoices are required for shipments of foreign grown coffee shipped to Puerto Rico from the U.S. (19 CFR 7.1(c)), the provisions regarding requirements and procedures for mail importations under Part 145, Subpart B of the Customs Regulations are to be observed.

According to 19 CFR 145.11(a), a Customs declaration form, provided by the foreign post office, shall be completed as a prerequisite to obtaining clearance of the merchandise. The declaration must contain a full and accurate description of the contents and value of the merchandise. This document has to be attached to only one mail article of each shipment; however, examination and release of the merchandise will be expedited if such a declaration is attached to each individual mail article.

In addition to the declaration, 19 CFR 145.11(b), in pertinent part, provides that an invoice or bill of sale giving an accurate description and the purchase price of the merchandise, must be securely attached to the outside of the mail article or enclosed therein. If more than one mail article is included in the shipment, a copy of the invoice should accompany each mail article, or else the invoice shall accompany the mail article bearing the declaration, and that mail article shall be marked "Invoice enclosed."

This provision was promulgated as a means of protecting the many interests of the Customs Service with respect to merchandise entering the U.S. from foreign countries. It does not pertain to merchandise travelling through the domestic mail. Therefore, to insure that Customs will acknowledge the shipment of coffee, an additional requirement is placed upon the shipper to identify on the declaration and the invoice that the package is to be referred to Customs for the collection of a tax assessed by the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.

If the mail article containing merchandise subject to duty or tax is not accompanied by the appropriate Customs declaration and invoice or statement of value required by 19 CFR 145.11, it is subject to seizure. Additionally, penalties may be imposed for a failure to pay the levied taxes.

The information required for the completion of the Parcel Post Declaration Form (PS Form 2966-A), as you have described, meets the requirements of 145.11(a); therefore, its attachment to the mail entry with the above acknowledgment would be sufficient for entry declaration purposes. Additionally, adherence to the invoicing procedures advocated in your letter suitably comply with 19 CFR 145.11(b).


Based upon the foregoing, the mail shipments of foreign grown coffee sent from the U.S. to customers in Puerto Rico will fulfill the requirements defined in 19 CFR 7.1(c) and 29 CFR 145.11(a) and (b) if the importer affixes to the outside of the package both a Parcel Post Declaration Form (PS Form 2966-A) and an invoice describing the contents of the package and the purchase price. Additionally, a statement notifying Customs that the contents of the package is subject to a tax assessed by the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico must be written on the package.


John Durant, Director

Previous Ruling Next Ruling