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HQ 953627

July 26, 1993

CLA-2 CO:R:C:F 953627 EAB


TARIFF NO.: 2914.69.2000

Area Director, New York Seaport
U.S. Customs Service
6 World Trade Center
New York, New York 10048

RE: Application for further review of Protest No. 1001-92-107065, dated November 24, 1992; ubidecarenone; coenzyme Q10; quinones; enzymes; coenzymes; NYRL 864936

Dear Area Director:

This is a decision on a protest filed November 24, 1992, against your decision in the classification of merchandise entered on various dates in 1991 and 1992 and liquidated on October 9, 1992.


The protestant entered the merchandise under subheading 3507.90.0000, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA), a provision for enzymes and prepared enzymes not elsewhere specified or included, other, dutiable at the column 1 general rate of 5 percent ad valorem.

Customs reclassified the merchandise under subheading 2914.69.2000, HTSUSA, a provision for quinones other than anthraquinone, drugs, dutiable at the column one general rate of 6.9 percent ad valorem.

The merchandise is one of a family of organic chemical compounds known predominantly as ubiquinones, but also called coenzymes Q, The Merck Index Eleventh Edition, 1549 (Merck #9751). Ubiquinone structures are based on the 2,3-dimethoxy-5-methylbenzo- quinone nucleus with a variable terpenoid side chain containing one to twelve mono-unsaturated trans-isoprenoid units with 10 units being the most common in animals. According to the existing dual system of nomenclature, the compounds can be described generically as either ubiquinone(x), where x is any multiple of 5 and designates the total number of carbon atoms in the side chain, or coenzyme Qn, where n = 1 - 12 and designates the number of terpenoid units in the side chain, id. In this case, the merchandise identified by the protestant as "ubidecarenone" contains 50 carbon atoms in the side chain, which itself consists of 10 terpenoid units, and is known also as ubiquinone(50) or coenzyme Q10, respectively.


Whether the substance ubidecarenone, also known as ubiquinone(50) and coenzyme Q10 is classified as a quinone under heading 2914 or as an enzyme under heading 3507.


Merchandise imported into the U.S. is classified under the HTSUSA. Tariff classification is governed by the principles set forth in the General Rules of Interpretation (GRIs) and, in the absence of special language or context which otherwise requires, by the Additional U.S. Rules of Interpretation. The GRIs and the Additional U.S. Rules of Interpretation are part of the HTSUSA and are to be considered statutory provisions of law for all purposes.

GRI 1 requires that classification be determined first according to the terms of the headings of the tariff schedule and any relative section or chapter notes and, unless otherwise required, according to the remaining GRI's taken in order.

Explanatory Notes (Ens) to the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System represent the official interpretation of the Customs Cooperation Council on the scope of each heading, and, although neither binding upon the contracting parties to the Harmonized System Convention nor considered to be dispositive interpretations, they should be consulted on the proper scope of the System.

Enzymes are chemical compounds formed in the living cells of plants and animals. They are catalysts for the chemical reactions of biological processes such as photosynthesis and digestion. Enzymes that break down protein substrate are called "proteolytic." See The Condensed Chemical Dictionary Ninth Edition, Van Nostrand Reinhold, 342.

Coenzymes are also chemical compounds formed in the living cells of plants and animals. Specific coenzymes attach to specific proteins to form an active enzyme system. The term "coenzyme" is generally synonymous with the phrase "prosthetic group," id., 220.

A prosthetic group is a chemical grouping in which a metal ion is associated with a large molecule or molecular complex. Such compounds activate metabolic mechanism by coordination reactions with amino acids, proteins, enzymes and nucleic acids, id., 729.

It is clear from the scientific literature that a coenzyme is not an enzyme and, therefore, that ubidecarenone, a coenzyme, is not classifiable under heading 3507. The foregoing distinction is set forth in EN 35.07, and we note with particularity that if the subject coenzyme were combined with the appropriate enzyme, the resulting enzyme system would be classified under subheading 3507.90, HTSUSA. See EN 35.07(I)(b).

It is further clear from the scientific literature that ubidecarenone is a particular type of quinone known as ubiquinone(50). We are of the opinion, therefore, that ubidecarenone is classifiable under heading 2914. See also NY 864936 (August 1, 1991), ubiquinone(50) classified under subheading 2914.69.2000, HTSUSA.


The protest should be denied.

The substance ubidecarenone, also known as ubiquinone(50) and coenzyme Q10 is classified under subheading 2914.69.2000, HTSUSA, a provision for ketones and quinones, whether or not with other oxygen function, quinones, other, drugs.

Merchandise entered in 1991 and 1992 under the foregoing provision was dutiable at the column one general rate of 6.9 percent ad valorem.

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 on the protest.


John Durant, Director

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