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NY B88404

August 26, 1997

CLA-2-16:RR:NC:2:231 B88404


TARIFF NO.: 1604.30.2000

Mr. A.H. Hansen-Sturm
Hansen Caviar Company, Inc.
93D South Railroad Avenue
Bergenfield, NJ 07621-2352

RE: The tariff classification of caviar from Russia and Kazakhstan.

Dear Mr. Hansen-Sturm:

In your letter, dated July 29, 1997, you have requested a ruling on the applicability of GSP status for caviar.

The product is caviar from Russia and Kazakhstan, countries that have been designated as Beneficiary Developing Countries for the purposes of the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP). The caviar is transported from Russian or Kazakhstan fisheries through a free trade zone in an intermediate country (Germany) to the Hansen Caviar Company in the U.S. The caviar remains in bond and it does not enter the commerce of the intermediate country.

The caviar is purchased in original bulk packaging of 1.8 kilogram and 500 gram tins. There are two ways that the caviar is transported from the Russian or Kazakhstan fisheries through the Hamburg free trade zone to the U.S:

1. in the original packing or
2. the bulk product is repacked into other containers, marked, labelled, and in some cases, pasteurized

All manipulation that occurs is performed in bond under German Customs surveillance.

The caviar, while in the intermediate country, is stored either in 1) the free trade zone (Freeport), or 2) in a bonded store, both located in Hamburg. Freeport storage does not permit the repacking of goods. The bonded store is where the repacking of the caviar is performed under Customs permit. In your correspondence you request that we rule whether the caviar is eligible for GSP status under the two shipment situations that are outlined above.

Section 10.175 of the Customs Regulations requires that eligible articles be imported directly from a beneficiary developing country to qualify for treatment under the GSP. Sections 10.175(3)(d), (d)(1), (d)(2), and (d)(3) articulate the definition of the terms "imported directly:"

(d) If the shipment is from any beneficiary developing country to the U.S. through the territory of any other country and the invoices and other documents do not show the U.S. as the final destination, the articles in the shipment upon arrival in the U.S. are imported directly only if they:

(1) Remained under the control of the customs authority of the intermediate country;

(2) Did not enter into the commerce of the intermediate country except for the purpose of sale other than at retail, and the port director is satisfied that the importation results from the original commercial transaction between the importer and the producer or the latter's sales agent; and

(3) Were not subjected to operations other than loading and unloading, and other activities necessary to preserve the articles in good condition

The first situation that you describe in your correspondence, in which the caviar remains in the original packing, will meet the GSP requirements, as articulated in Sections 10.175(3)(d), (d)(1), (d)(2), and (d)(3) of the Customs Regulations.

The second situation that you describe, in which the bulk product is repacked into other containers, marked, labelled, and in some cases, pasteurized, does not meet the GSP requirements that are articulated in Sections 10.175(3)(d)(1), (d)(2), and (d)(3) of the Customs Regulations. The product is statutorily excluded because it is repacked and/or pasteurized.

The applicable subheading for the caviar will be 1604.30.2000, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTS), which provides for prepared or preserved fish; caviar and caviar substitutes prepared from fish eggs, caviar and caviar substitutes, caviar. The rate of duty will be 15 percent ad valorem.

Articles classifiable under subheading 1604.30.2000, HTS, which are products of Russia or Kazakhstan, are entitled to duty free treatment under the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) upon compliance with all applicable regulations.

This ruling is being issued under the provisions of Part 177 of the Customs Regulations (19 CFR 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.


Gwenn Klein Kirschner

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