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NY 818057

January 19, 1996

CLA-2-04:RR:NC:FC:231 818057


TARIFF NO.: 0406.10.8800

Mr. Jesus Elizondo Braun
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 Asadero cheese from Mexico; Article 509

Dear Mr. Braun:

In your letter, dated December 4, 1995, you requested a ruling on the status of Asadero cheese from Mexico under the NAFTA.

The product, Asadero cheese, is fresh cheese. You indicate in your correspondence that the ingredients are pasteurized cow's milk, acetic acid, calcium chloride, and rennet. The milk that is used contains 4.3 percent butterfat.

The manufacturing process is comprised of the following steps: First, fresh milk is cooled with the use of plates, and it undergoes pasteurization. Acetic acid, calcium chloride, and rennet are added. Five minutes after the rennet has been added, the cheese has set. The curd is cut, the whey is separated, and the curd is cooked. The cheese is placed in molds, stored, packed, and distributed. All of the processing and manufacturing of the finished product will be done in Mexico.

The applicable subheading for the Asadero cheese 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 $1.686 per kilogram.

The Asadero cheese, 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 $1.123 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 48.7 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 the ruling or the control number indicated above should be provided with the entry documents filed at the time this merchandise is imported. If you have any questions regarding the ruling, contact National Import Specialist Ralph Conte at (212) 466-5759.


Roger J. Silvestri

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