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HQ 951428

April 14 1994

CLA-2 CO:R:C:F 951428 JGH


TARIFF NO.: 2710.00.18

District Director of Customs
300 South Ferry Street
Terminal Island
San Pedro, California 90731

RE: Classification under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS) of Petroleum Reformate with High Aromatic Content - I.A. 7/92

Dear Sir:

This decision concerns the classification under the HTSUS of a high-aromatic-content reformate from Saudi Arabia, entered by Westport Petroleum, Inc., on June 7, 1990.


Information supplied by the importer shows that the petroleum product has an aromatic content of over 60 percent: ranging from about 62 percent to over 66 percent, depending when the sample was taken. The product was entered as an other aromatic hydrocarbon mixture in subheading 2707.50.000, HTSUS. However, after Customs analyzed a sample, it was determined that the import, which was found to have approximately 65 percent aromatics, was classifiable for motor fuel blending stock in subheading 2710.00.18. It was stated that the most likely use of the product was in the manufacture of gasoline.


Whether the high aromatic-content reformate is classifiable as other aromatic mixtures in subheading 2707.50.000, HTSUS, or as a motor fuel blending stock in subheading 2710.00.18, HTSUS.


It is argued in behalf of the importer that, based on the Explanatory Notes (ENs) interpretation of 2707, the import is classifiable in that heading as an other hydrocarbon mixture; that the ENs not only state that 2707 covers oils and other products obtained by the distillation of high temperature coal tar in more or less broad fractions, which produces mixtures consisting predominantly of aromatic hydrocarbons and other compounds, but also similar oils and products with a predominance of aromatic constituents obtained by distillation of low temperature coal tar or other mineral tar, by "stripping" of coal gas, by processing of petroleum or by any other process; products which were, for the most part, considered coal tar crudes under the previous tariff: The Tariff Schedules of the United States. The product in question, of course, is not in this category; it is not a coal tar crude, but, rather, something more, one reformed for a special use. Reformates are considered petroleum hydrocarbon mixtures containing a high concentration of aromatics, and, as a result, are used as an octane-boosting blendstock in the production of gasoline.

Another argument advanced is that as the product contained no additives , of an aromatic or non-aromatic type, it could not qualify under paragraph (C) of Explanatory Notes (EN) for 2710. However, for tariff purposes the term "additives" is not limited to additives (even non-petroleum ones) of the type described in that note, such as those which affect product performance, but also includes "benzenoid additives" created, as mentioned, to enhance the octane content of a motor fuel blend stock, as well as for coal tar crudes; thus, the reformate product that satisfies the petroleum oils content is considered to remain a petroleum product for the purposes of the EN.

A issue similar to the one presented here: classification of a petroleum product of high aromatic content, is believed to be pending before the court in Clarendon Marketing, Inc., V. U.S., Docket Number 92-08-00575.


The reformate as described above, is classifiable as motor fuel blendstock in subheading 2710.0018, HTSUS.

A copy of this decision should be provided to the internal advice requestor.

The Office of Regulations and Rulings will take steps to make this decision available to Customs personnel via the Customs Rulings Module in ACS and the public via the Diskette Subscription Service, Lexis, Freedom of Information Act and other public access channels 60 days from the date of this decision.


John Durant, Director

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