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HQ 952636

October 8, 1993

CLA 2-CO:R:C:F 952636 K


TARIFF No.: 2008.99.9090

District Director of Customs
Los Angeles District
300 South Ferry St Terminal Island
San Pedro, California 90731

RE: Application For Further Review of Protest No. 2704-91-104885; Roasted Seaweed

Dear Sir:

The following is in response to your request of September 4, 1992, for further review of the above-captioned protest.


The entry dated July 10, 1991, was liquidated on November 22, 1991, and a timely protest was filed on November 22, 1991.

New York Ruling Letter (NYRL) 845822, dated October 5, 1989, held that dried seaweed from Japan, called "Yakinori", was classifiable in subheading 1212.20.0000, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), as seaweeds and other algae, fresh or dried, whether or not ground, free of duty. Subsequent information indicated that the term "Yakinori" means roasted seaweed.

In a protest review decision, dated April 30, 1991, Headquarters Ruling Letter (HRL) 088315, we stated that "the seaweed of heading 1212 is limited to seaweed prepared no further than drying or reduction in size" and that "cooking, roasting, or the addition of other ingredients result in food preparations based on seaweed." We held that seaweed that was dried naturally and then roasted, is provided for as "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 than those of subheading 2008.19, Other: Other: Other, Other", and classifiable in subheading 2008.99.9090, HTSUS.

HRL 088315 represents the legal position of the Customs Service and is not at issue in the pending protest. However, as noted above, subsequent information indicated that the term "Yakinori" in NYRL 845822 meant roasted seaweed. Upon the recommendation of the Assistant Area Director, NIS Division, New York Seaport, Customs Headquarters issued HRL 950002, dated November 13, 1991, which modified NYRL 845822, and held that roasted seaweed (Yakinori) was classifiable in subheading 2008.99.9090, HTSUS. Further, HRL 950002 provided for a non- retroactive provision. The protestant claims that the entry covered by the pending protest should be liquidated free of duty under subheading 1212.20.0000, in accordance with the instructions in the non-retroactive provision.


The issue is whether the seaweed in question falls within the instructions in HRL 950002, and whether the entry should be liquidated under subheading 1212.20.0000, HTSUS.


The recipient of NYRL 845822 and the protestant are the same party of interest. The holding in HRL 950002, which modified NYRL 845822, contained two additional instructions, one of which stated that HRL 950002 was "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."

Under section 177.9(d)(2) of the Customs Regulations, the modification or revocation of a prospective ruling letter will not be applied retroactively to the person to whom the ruling was issued provided, in part, that the request for the ruling contained no misstatement or omission of material facts, that the developed facts are materially the same as contained in the request for the ruling, and the person acted in good faith.

NYRL 845822 was a prospective ruling dated October 5, 1989, and was issued to the party who is the subject of this protest. NYRL 845822 describes the merchandise as dried seaweed (Yakinori) which contains no other substances. The subsequent facts did not change other than the additional information that the term "Yakinori" meant that the seaweed was roasted. The entry covering the merchandise, which is the subject of this protest, is dated July 10, 1991. Therefore, the merchandise was imported prior to the modification of NYRL 845822 by HRL 950002, effective November 13, 1991. The modification letter, HRL 950002 was issued to the same party that obtained the NYRL 845822. In order to apply the non-retroactive provision, it must be presumed that Customs Headquarters concluded that the party acted in good faith.

In a further submission dated March 25, 1993, the protestant indicated that the term "Nori" means seaweed and the term "Yaki Nori" means roasted seaweed. Roasted seaweed for sushi use may be called "Yakisushi Nori". The terms in the import documents, "Kiku", "Matsu", "Take", and "Ume" are names given to distinguish the quality of the seaweed and those names would remain whether the seaweed is just dried or roasted. The import documents did not describe the seaweed as "Yaki Nori" or as roasted seaweed. Nevertheless, the protestant concedes that the seaweed in question was roasted but claims that the non-retroactive provision of HRL 950002 is applicable and we agree.

Accordingly, the claim of the protestant that the merchandise falls within the non-retroactive provision of HRL 950002 is sustained.


Headquarters Ruling Letters 088315 and 950002, which held that roasted seaweed or "Yaki Nori" is classifiable in subheading 2008.99.9090, HTSUS, are followed and affirmed. However, you are directed to allow the protest in full because the import entry which is the subject of this protest falls within the non- retroactive provision of HRL 950002. A copy of this decision should be provided to the protestant with the copy of Customs Form 19.

In accordance with Section 3A(11)(b) of Customs Directive 099 3550-065, dated August 4, 1993, Subject: Revised Protest Directive, this decision should be mailed by your office to the protestant no latter than 60 days from the date of this letter. Any reliquidation of the entry in accordance with the decision must be accomplished prior to mailing of the decision. Sixty days from the date of the decision the Office of Regulations and Rulings will take steps to make the 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.


John Durant, Director

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