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HQ 957210

March 6, 1995

CLA-2 CO:R:C:F 957210 ALS


TARIFF NO.: 0902.30.0090; 3923.21.0090; 3923.29.0000; 4819.20.0040; 7612.90.1090

Mr. Robert C. Morris
2975 SW Upper Drive
Portland, OR 97201

RE: Black Tea Leaf, Dried

Dear Mr. Morris:

This is in reference to your request for a ruling regarding black tea leaf flavored with various ingredients. Packaged samples were included with your request.


The merchandise under consideration is lose black tea leaf, dried, which is flavored with various ingredients including bergamot oil, vanilla extract, dried cove, dried cardamon, dried lemon, dried cinnamon, dried mandarin orange and dried passion fruit. All of the flavored teas are produced in Malaysia. Samples of the passion fruit flavored tea and the lemon with mandarin tea were submitted. They are packaged, as we understand all the teas are packaged, in foil pouches inside small cardboard boxes (2 3/4" x 2 1/4" x 1 1/2"). The weight of each package is not specified thereon.


What is the classification of flavored teas?


Classification of merchandise under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA) is governed by - 2 -
the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's). GRI 1 provides that the classification is determined first in accordance with the terms of the headings and any relative section and chapter notes. If GRI 1 fails to classify the goods and if the heading and legal notes do not otherwise require, the remaining GRI's are applied taken in order.

Tea, whether or not flavored is classifiable in heading 0902, HTSUSA. The subject merchandise, black teas, are classifiable in subheading 0902.30.0090, HTSUSA, which provides for black tea (fermented) and partly fermented tea, in immediate packings of a content not exceeding 3 kg...other (not packaged in tea bags).

Merchandise so classifiable is subject to the provisions of the import Tea Act (21 U.S.C. 46a). The Act requires that a tea examination fee of 3.5 cents per hundred weight or fraction thereof be collected from each entry at the time of entry. If further requires that each entry be sampled, examined and released by a permit signed by a qualified tea examiner. It also requires that a Tea Chop List and Release Permit (Food and Drug Form 1824) be submitted with each entry.

Additional U.S. Note 4 to Chapter 9, HTSUSA, provides that "All immediate containers and wrappings, and all intermediate containers, of tea (heading 0902)in packages of less than 2.3. kg, net, each are dutiable at the rates applicable to such containers and wrappings if imported empty, except that such goods originating in the territory of Canada or Mexico shall enter free of duty".

The foil pouches and the cardboard boxes used to pack the tea must be separately classified:


Black tea, whether or not flavored, not in tea bags, is classifiable in subheading 0902.30.0090, HTSUSA, and is subject to a free general rate of duty. It is subject to a tea examination fee of 3.5 cents per hundredweight or fraction thereof.

The classification of the foil pouches depends on the component which imparts the essential character and is dependent on the relative weights, thicknesses and values of the aluminum and the plastic. If the essential character is the aluminum and there is no plastic or only one layer of plastic, the pouches would be classifiable in subheading 7612.90.1090, HTSUSA, and subject to a general rate of duty of 5.7 percent ad valorem. If the essential character of the pouches is the plastic, and if the
plastic is polyethylene, they would be classifiable in the provision for sacks and bags in subheading 3923.21.0090, HTSUSA, and subject to a general rate of duty 3 percent ad valorem. If the essential character is the plastic and the plastic is other than polyethylene, the pouches would be classifiable in the provision for sacks and bags in subheading 3923.29.0000, HTSUSA, and would be subject to a general rate of duty of 3 percent ad valorem.

The cardboard boxes are classifiable in subheading 4819.20.0040, HTSUSA, which provides for folding cartons, boxes, and cases, of non-corrugated paper or paperboard, other. Such articles are subject to a general rate of duty of 2.5 percent ad valorem.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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