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 0955232 - HQ 0955297 > HQ 0955265

Previous Ruling Next Ruling

HQ 955265

February 9 1994

CLA-2 CO:R:C:F 955265 JGH


TARIFF NO.: 3823.90.5050

District Director of Customs
127 North Water Street
Ogdensburg, New York 13669

RE: Classification of a Citric Acid Additive Produced in Canada. Internal Advice 74/93.

Dear Sir:

This decision involves the classification of a citric acid additive produced by Joseph E. Seagram & Sons, Inc.


The product consists of about 89 percent ethyl alcohol and about 10 percent citric acid, with the balance being water. It is to be used as a flavoring to add tartness or tang to wine or malt coolers. After importation the product is blended with a wine or malt base and water, with sugar, preservatives, flavorings and colorings added; a carbonating agent is added at bottling. The citric acid additive is said to comprise 1.5 to 2.5 percent of the finished product.


Whether citrus acid additive is classified under the provision for compound alcoholic preparations of a kind used for the manufacture of beverages containing over 50 percent alcohol by weight in subheading 2208.10.90, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), or under the provision for other chemical products of the chemical or allied industries, not elsewhere specified or included, in subheading 3823.90.5050, HTSUS. - 2 -


The Explanatory Notes to Heading 2208 point out that the compound alcoholic preparations covered are those used in the manufacture of various beverages. The preparations are said generally to be "a complex mixture of distillates, tinctures, alcoholates and natural or synthetic essences, contain all of the odoriferous substances and other flavoring ingredients (e.g., citric acid) which characterize a particular beverage....". The Notes go on to state that the beverage can be obtained by simply diluting the preparation with water, wine or alcohol.

In contrast, the citric acid additive, rather than being a complex preparation, is essentially an alcohol flavored with the acid used to impart a tang to a wine or malt base, which is processed further to produce the cooler; it only accounts for, at most, 2.5 percent of the finished product. Thus, the additive would not be a complex preparation of a type classifiable in heading 2208. Since it is not classifiable in heading 2208, it would not be considered for any possible classification in heading 3302, if that provision is redefined, as that provision covers alcoholic preparations based on odoriferous substances, which citric acid is not.

It is noted that under Presidential Proclamation 6579 of July 8, 1993, certain goods were granted accelerated tariff elimination under the United States-Canada Free-Trade Agreement; included was citric acid additives in subheading 9905.22.10, HTSUS. However, that provision in describing the product listed it as being classified in subheading 2207.10.30, HTSUS, the provision for beverage grade ethyl alcohol. Since the additive, because of its composition, could not be considered ethyl alcohol, it is not classifiable in 2207.10.30 and, therefore, subheading 9905.22.10 is fatally flawed and has no effect.

It is also noted that a provision in heading 2106 for food preparations containing alcohol has been proposed. However, since such a provision is not in effect at this time, no comment is necessary on its applicability.

Therefore, it is concluded that citric acid additive is classifiable under the provision for other chemical products and preparations of the chemical and allied industries (including those consisting of mixtures of natural products), not elsewhere specified or included, in subheading 3823.90.5050, HTSUS. It is free of duty.

It is stated that the citric acid additive is considered a nonbeverage product by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, and, therefore, not subject to Federal excise tax, nor to the permit and label approval requirements applicable to beverage products. - 3 -

Accordingly, since the product is not considered a beverage product for excise tax and related purposes, it could be subject the added duty for fuel alcohol in subheading 9901.00.50, HTSUS. Therefore, it is suggested that at entry the actual use requirements of 19 CFR 10.131 - 139 be followed to preclude the deposit of additional duties.


The citric acid additive described above is classifiable as a chemical mixture in subheading 3823.90.5050, 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

Previous Ruling Next Ruling

See also: