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 > 1994 HQ Rulings > HQ 0951261 - HQ 0952146 > HQ 0951919

Previous Ruling Next Ruling

HQ 951919

Oct 1,1992
CLA-2 CO:R:C:F 951919 JGH


TARIFF NO.: 2002.10.00 9903.23.17

Port Director of Customs
9901 Pacific Highway
Blaine, Washington 98230

RE: Decision on Application for Further Review of Protest No. 3004-92-100032, on the classification of dried tomatoes in olive oil

Dear Sir:

This protest involves the classification of dried tomatoes in olive oil from Italy under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS).


Renna brand Dried Tomatoes in Olive Oil is said to be packed in 11-ounce glass jars, consisting of 7.4 ounces of olive oil, 3.7 ounces of dried tomatoes, with fennel, laurel and salt.


Whether dried tomatoes in olive oil are classifiable as prepared or preserved tomatoes in subheading 2002.10.00, HTSUS, a sauce in 2103.90.60, HTSUS, or a food preparation, not elsewhere specified or included, in subheading 2106.90.60, HTSUS.


It is claimed that the product has a variety of uses, including that as a sauce for pasta and other Italian dishes; that since the olive oil predominates by weight and value, when combined with the tomatoes, the product is a sauce.

The Explanatory Notes to the HTSUS provide an interpretation of the tariff provisions at the international level. For heading 2103 the Notes define sauces a preparations, generally of a - 2 -
highly spiced character, used to flavor certain dishes. It goes on to state that they are generally in liquid form and made from various ingredients (eggs, vegetables, meat, fruit, flours, starches, oil, vinegar, sugar, spices mustard, flavorings, etc.).

However, while dried tomatoes in olive oil may occasionally be a ingredient in sauce, the product, in and of itself, is not a sauce. In fact, as ingredients dried tomatoes have a variety of uses: in soups, salads, stew, pizzas, appetizers or hors d'oeuvres. The Explanatory Notes also state that sauces are mainly liquids, emulsions, or suspensions containing very little solid matter. In contrast, the product here consists of pieces of tomato in olive oil.

An alternative claim is that GRI 1, in which classification is determined according to the tariff headings and related section notes, is inappropriate and that classification should be according to the essential character of the product under GRI 3. It is asserted that since the dried tomatoes are the essential ingredient, the product is classifiable as dried tomatoes in subheading 0712.90.75, HTSUS. However, that provision is limited to tomatoes which are dried but not further prepared. Here, the tomatoes have been further prepared by immersion in olive oil, and flavored with fennel, laurel and salt. Therefore, heading 0712 does not apply.

The "essential character" argument is believed to be supported by several cited precedents: 081607 involving a mixture of sugar and corn, and 083145 involving a mixture of milk fat and skim milk powder. However, those cases are distinguishable as they involved fungible mixtures; the merchandise here is pieces of dried tomatoes prepared and preserved in olive oil; clearly a product which is not considered a mixture for tariff purposes. The fact that the olive oil weighs more than the tomatoes is of no significance, since it is the form of the tomato which is being merchandised here, not the olive oil. Since the tomato is prepared or preserved in a manner other than that specified in Chapter 7, HTSUS, the tariff provisions of Chapter 20, HTSUS, would apply. Heading 2002 provides for tomatoes prepared or preserved otherwise than by vinegar or acetic acid, and these are dried tomatoes prepared or preserved in olive oil.

Dried tomatoes in olive oil are classifiable in subheading 2002.10.00, HTSUS, and subject to the quota in subheading 9903.23.17, HTSUS. - 3 -

The protest should be denied in full.

A copy of this decision should be attached to the Customs Form 19 and provided to the protestant as part of the notice of action.

John Durant, Director

Previous Ruling Next Ruling

See also: