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HQ 955571

September 28, 1994

CLA-2 CO:R:C:F 955571 K


TARIFF No.: 1211.90.40

Robert J. Leo, Esq.
Adduci, Mastriani, Schaumberg & Schill
Attorneys at Law
330 Madison Avenue
39th Floor
New York, New York 10017

RE: Reconsideration of Headquarters Ruling Letter (HRL) 953603; Internal Advice 15/93; Mint Leaves

Dear Sir:

In your letter dated December 14, 1993, you asked us to reconsider HRL 953603, dated September 16, 1993. For purposes of this decision, we are incorporating by reference HRL 953603 as part of our response to you request. Our position follows.


Based upon the sample submitted for HRL 953603, the merchandise was described under the caption "Law and Analysis" as mint leaves that "have been reduced to a very small and uniform size at importation; a size suitable for use in tea bags." The ruling further states "from the appearance of the sample, it is obvious that the processing prior to importation was done to advance the article toward completed state; a processing which was something more than that appropriate for packing or preservation."

On behalf of your client, you claimed that the mint leaves were classified as mint leaves, crude or not manufactured, in subheading 1211.90.20, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), free of duty and you cited S.B. Penick & Co. v. United States, 272 F. Supp. 316, C.D. 3105 (1967) to support your position. However, in interpreting the court case, we concluded that the product, as represented by the sample, was advanced beyond the crude or not manufactured stage and held that "peppermint
leaves cut to a uniform size suitable for putting up in tea bags are processed to an advanced stage and, thus, classifiable under the provision for other mint leaves in subheading 1211.90.40, HTSUS" with duty at the general rate of 7.5 percent ad valorem (See also 9903.10.16, HTSUS, effective through December 31, 1994.)

In your letter requesting reconsideration you questioned the description of the product in HRL 953603, which stated that the leaves were "ground to a very small and uniform size." You indicated that the leaves are not ground and that they are cut to a small size by the supplier primarily to avoid damage to the leaves from storage and shipping. You submitted letters.from trade sources to support your position that the leaves are considered as crude or not manufactured. However, none of the sources cover the product as represented by the sample submitted for HRL 953603.

An opportunity was extended for the submission of a further sample of the product in its condition as imported. A meeting was also held at Headquarters on June 3, 1994. However, no further samples were submitted. Accordingly, our decision in this request for reconsideration is based upon the sample submitted for HRL 953603.

We referred a portion of the sample to a Customs laboratory for an analysis. A laboratory report dated June 24, 1994, states as follows;

The sample, a dry, green vegetable substance, has the characteristics of peppermint leaves. Forty-five (45) percent of the sample passes through a sieve with an aperture of 500 micrometers. We are unable to detect the presence of other vegetable substances in the sample.

Further, three commercial samples of peppermint leaves packed in "tea bags" found in grocery stores were tested for mesh analysis and it was found that the sample has a more uniform size than the tested commercial samples.


The issue is whether the peppermint leaves as described above have been processed beyond the crude or not manufacture stage.


The law and analysis was discussed in HRL 953603, and, as noted above, that ruling is incorporated in full as part of this reconsideration decision.

No new additional information has been submitted to change the facts as described in HRL 953603. Rather, our reconsideration of
this matter further solidifies our position as stated in HRL 953603.


Our holding in HRL 953603, dated September 16, 1993, which held that peppermint leaves cut to a uniform size suitable for putting up in tea bags are processed to an advanced stage and, thus classifiable under the provision for other mint leaves in subheading 1211.90.40, HTSUS, is affirmed.


John Durant, Director

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