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January 23, 1996

HQ 958636

CLA-2 RR:TC:FC 958636 ASM


TARIFF NO.: 2933.59.5900

Ms. Charlene Wakai
Betachem, Inc.
P.O. Box 682
Franklin Lakes, NJ 07417

RE: Modification of NYRL 845649 concerning the tariff classification of Acyclovir (CAS 59277-89-3)

Dear Ms. Wakai:

This letter concerns the modification of New York Ruling Letter (NYRL) 845649, dated October 17, 1989, regarding the tariff classification of the anti-viral drug, Acyclovir (CAS 59277-89-3). to section 625, Tariff Act of 1930 (19 U.S.C. 1625), as amended by section 623 of Title VI (Customs Modernization) of the North American Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act, Pub. L. 103-182, 107 Stat. 2057, 2186 (1993) (hereinafter section 625), notice of the proposed modification of NYRL 845649 was published December 13, 1995, in the Customs Bulletin, Volume 29, Number 50.


The subject product, Acyclovir, is being imported for use as an antiviral drug for human consumption.

In NYRL 845649, the drug, Acyclovir, was classified under 2933.90.2800, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA), a provision which was dutiable at 8.1 percent ad valorem under the general column one rate.


What is the proper classification under the HTSUSA of Acyclovir (CAS 59277-89-3)? - 2 -


Classification of merchandise under the HTSUSA, is made in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's). The systematic detail of the harmonized system is such that virtually all goods are classified by application of GRI 1, that is, according to the terms of the headings of the tariff schedule and any relative section or chapter notes. In the event that the goods cannot be classified solely on the basis of GRI 1, and if the headings and legal notes do not otherwise require, the remaining GRI's may then be applied. The Explanatory Notes to the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System (EN's), which represent the official interpretation of the tariff at the international level, facilitate classification under the HTSUSA by offering guidance in understanding the scope of the headings and GRI's.

An examination of the chemical structure of Acyclovir shows that it is a heterocyclic, non-aromatic compound. According to Additional U.S. Note 2 (a) to Section VI, HTSUSA, the term "aromatic" refers to chemical compounds containing one or more fused or unfused benzene rings. Additional U.S. Note 2(b) to Section VI, HTSUSA, states that a "modified aromatic" must have at least one six-membered heterocyclic ring containing no less than four carbon atoms and having an arrangement of molecular bonds as in the benzene or quinone ring, but does not include a structure in which one or more pyrimidine rings are the only rings present. Acyclovir is not an "aromatic" or "modified aromatic" compound because it lacks a benzene ring and only contains a pyrimidine ring and an imidazole ring, fused to each other.

In this case, Acyclovir contains a pyrimidine ring which is classifiable in subheading 2933.59, HTSUSA, and it is our determination that this product would thereby be precluded from classification in any other subheading. Accordingly, pursuant to GRI 1, Acyclovir is properly classifiable within subheading 2933.59.5900, HTSUSA, which specifically provides for heterocyclic compounds containing a pyrimidine ring.


The product identified is properly classifiable within subheading 2933.59.5900, HTSUSA, which provides for "Heterocyclic compounds with nitrogen hetero-atom(s) only; nucleic acids and their salts: Compounds containing a pyrimidine ring (whether or not hydrogenated) or piperazine ring in the structure; nucleic acids and their salts: Other: Drugs: Other." The general column one rate of duty is 3.7 percent ad valorem.

NYRL 845649, dated October 17, 1989, is hereby modified. In accordance with section 625, this ruling will become effective 60 days after its Publication in the Customs Bulletin. Publication of rulings or decisions pursuant to section 625 does not constitute a change of practice or position in accordance with section 177.10(c)(1), Customs Regulations (19 CFR 177.10(c)(1)).

This merchandise may be subject to the regulations of the Food and Drug Administration. You may contact them at 5600 Fishers Lane, Rockville, MD 20857, (202) 857-8400.


John Durant, Director
Tariff Classification
Appeals Division

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