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NY 814361

September 7, 1995

CLA-2-04:S:N:N7:231 814361


TARIFF NO.: 0406.10.8800

Mr. Jesus Elizondo
Lacteos de Tampico, S.A. de C.V. c/o Mr. Bill Sladovnik
P.O. Box 270195
Dallas, TX 75227

RE: The tariff classification and status under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) of fresh cheese from Mexico; Article 509

Dear Mr. Elizondo:

In your letter, dated August 29, 1995, you requested a ruling on the status of fresh cheese from Mexico under the NAFTA.

The product, called "Queso Fresco Molido," is fresh cheese. You indicate in your correspondance that the ingredients are pasteurized cow's milk, rennet, calcium chloride, and salt. The milk that is used contains 3.4 percent fat. The cheese will have 24 percent fat on a fresh basis.

The manufacturing process is comprised of the following steps: First, fresh milk is clarified and cooled with the use of plates. The milk undergoes pasteurization and homogenization. Calcium chloride and rennet are added, the product sets for thirty minutes, and is cut. The whey is drained, salt is added, and the cheese is ground in a steel mill. It is placed in a plastic mold, stored, packed, and distributed. All of the processing and manufacturing of the finished product will be done in Mexico.

The applicable subheading for the "Queso Fresco Molido," will be 0406.10.8800, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTS), which provides for cheese and curd, fresh (unripened or uncured) cheese, including whey cheese, and curd, other, other, other, other cheese and substitutes for cheese (except cheese not containing cow's milk, and soft ripened cow's milk cheese), other. The general rate of duty will be US $1.73 per kilogram.

"Queso Fresco Molido," being wholly obtained or produced entirely in the territory of Mexico, will meet the requirements of HTSUSA General Note 12(b)(i), and will therefore be entitled to a free rate of duty under the NAFTA upon compliance with all applicable laws, regulations, and agreements. Upon compliance with all applicable laws, regulations, and agreements under NAFTA, articles from Mexico classifiable in subheading 0406.10.8800, HTS, are subject to the quota quantity restrictions listed in 9906.05.07, HTS, which limit the amount of fresh cheese to the quantitative limits specified in U.S. Note 8 to Subchapter VI of Chapter 99. The rate of duty will be free.

Alternately, articles valued not over US $2.30 per kilogram are classifiable in subheading 9906.05.08, HTS. The rate of duty will be US $1.283 per kilogram.

Otherwise, articles valued over US $2.30 per kilogram are classifiable in subheading 9906.05.09, HTS. The rate of duty will be 55.6 percent ad valorem.

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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