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NY 890754

October 7, 1993



TARIFF NO.: 0511.91.0000

Mr. Snorri M. Sigmundsson
Nord Quest
3305 S.W. 338th Street
Federal Way, WA 98023

RE: The tariff classification of colored FISH SCALES from Iceland.

Dear Mr. Sigmundsson:

In your letter dated September 22, 1993, you requested a tariff classification ruling.

The product in question is described as colored FISH SCALES, which are obtained as a by-product from fish processing plants in Iceland. These scales are said to come from Ocean Perch (Redfish) and, in preparation, are cleaned, dyed and dried. The scales will be imported in bulk and will be added to "arts and crafts" kits by the hobby industry. They may be used by children or adults for various applications such as, for example, to make pictures by gluing them on cardboard. A sample of the product, submitted with this letter, consisted of small translucent fish scales (ranging up to about 9 millimeters in length or width) in various colors, such as blue, purple, yellow, orange, red.

The classification of merchandise under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States, Annotated, is governed by the General Rules of Interpretation. The first General Rule requires that the classification of goods be determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes. The Explanatory Notes to the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System, which represent the official interpretation of the tariff at the international level, facilitate classification under the Harmonized Tariff by offering guidance in understanding the scope of the headings and the General Rules.

The General Notes in the Explanatory Notes to Chapter 5 state that

"This Chapter covers a variety of materials of animal origin, unworked or having undergone a simple process of preparation, which are not normally used as food (except certain blood, guts, bladders and stomachs of animals) and which are not dealt with in other Chapters of the Nomenclature."

Fish scales, an inedible material of animal origin, are not provided for in any other Chapter of the Nomenclature and, consequently, are included in this Chapter. The Explanatory Notes to heading 05.11, the residual heading in this Chapter, includes, on page 41, a category for "Waste of fish or crustaceans, molluscs or other aquatic invertebrates." Listed in this category are certain crude fish scales which are used as a material for the commercial extraction of a pearl essence.

The instant fish scales, although having a use different from the extraction material listed in the Explanatory Notes, is a waste product of a fish processing operation which, prior to importation, has undergone only simple processes of preparation,--namely, the scales have been cleaned, dyed and dried. With respect to these preparations, it is noted that cleaning and drying are simple processes that do not alter the character of the product as crude fish scales. The dyeing of materials appears to be a permitted preparation for products or materials of Chapter 5, provided the language of the specific heading does not limit the preparation of the products provided for therein. For example, heading 05.01 provides for "Human hair, unworked, whether or not washed or scouted; Waste of human hair." The Explanatory Notes to this heading state that, in accordance with the terms of the heading, the human hair provided for therein may not be worked nor processed beyond simple washing or scouring. Thus, dyeing and other such preparations of human hair are not permitted for these goods:

"Human hair (other than waste) which has been processed beyond simple washing or scouring, e.g., thinned, dyed, bleached, curled or prepared for the manufacture of postiches, wigs, etc., and also human hair which has been arranged so that the root ends and tip ends are respectively together, is excluded (Heading 67.03), see corresponding Explanatory Note)." [Underlining supplied.]

On the other hand, the language of headings 05.02, the provision for

"Pigs', hogs' or boars' bristles and hair; Badger hair and other brush making hair; waste of such bristles and hair,"
and heading 05.03, the provision for

"Horsehair and horsehair waste, whether or not put up as a layer with or without supporting material,"
do not restrict the processes or preparations which the goods may undergo. Thus, the Explanatory Notes to heading 05.02 state that "These goods
may be in bulk, in loose bundles, or in tied bunches in which the bristles or hairs are laid parallel and the root ends more or less levelled. They may be raw or the may have been cleaned, bleached, dyed or sterilized." [Underlining supplied.]

The Explanatory Notes to heading 05.03 state that "This heading covers
hair of the manes, or tails of equine or bovine animals. It includes not only unworked horsehair but also horsehair which has been washed, scoured, bleached, dyed, curled or otherwise prepared. ..." [Underlining supplied.]

Similarly, heading 05.11 provides for "Animal products not elsewhere specified or included; dead animals of chapter 1 or 3, unfit for human consumption". The language of this heading does not restrict the processing of the goods provided for therein, provided that these constitute only "simple processes of preparation," as required by the General Notes to the Chapter. Since dyeing is a process permitted in other headings of the Chapter as a "simple process of preparation," it would also be permitted for the goods of heading 05.11.

Accordingly, the applicable subheading for the colored FISH SCALES, which have been colored by dyeing, will be 0511.91.0000, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTS), which provides for Animal products not elsewhere specified or included; dead animals of chapter 1 or 3, unfit for human consumption: Other: Products of fish or crustaceans, molluscs or other aquatic invertebrates; dead animals of chapter 3. The rate of duty will be free.

This ruling is being issued under the provisions of Section 177 of the Customs Regulations (19 C.F.R. 177).

A copy of this ruling letter should be attached to the entry documents filed at the time this merchandise is imported. If the documents have been filed without a copy, this ruling should be brought to the attention of the Customs officer handling the transaction.


Jean F. Maguire
Area Director

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