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NY C89398

September 23, 1998

CLA-2-39:RR:NC:FC:237 C89398


TARIFF NO: 3913.90.2050

Mr. Franco Grutti
Seajet Express Inc.
80 Everett Avenue
Chelsea, MA 02150

RE: The classification agarose powder from Spain.

Dear Mr. Grutti:

In your letter dated June 24, 1998 you requested a tariff classification ruling on behalf of Global Imports Inc., of Tampa, Florida

The product is described as agarose obtained by the further extraction/purification of agar-agar. Analysis of your sample by the New York Customs Laboratory indicates that the product is agarose, a polysaccharide, in powder form.

In your letter, you suggest that the classification of agrose should fall under 1302.31.0000, HTSUS, which provides for agar-agar, by name. However, agar-agar is used as a raw material to manufacture agarose, a different article of commerce. In your letter you note that agarose is agar-agar in its most highly extracted form.

Heading 1302, HTSUS, provides for: agar-agar and other mucilages and thickeners, whether or not modified, derived from vegetable products. Based on Explanatory Note 13.02 agar-agar (or agar) is obtained by extraction from certain marine algae found mainly in the Indian and Pacific Oceans, and usually presented in the form of dried fibres, flakes, powder or in gelatinous form obtained by treatment with acids. Agar-agar is used as an emulsifier in cosmetics and food products, as a sizing agent, as an inert carrier of drugs in medicine, and as a laxative (See: McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia of Science, 1987, 6th ed., vol. 1, pp. 165-166).

Agarose is a complex polysaccharide, which is manufactured by removing certain molecules from agar, leaving the uncharged solid as a dried powder. Agar can be separated into a neutral gelling fraction (agarose) and a sulfated non-gelling fraction (agaropectin). Agarose is used in electrophoresis for separating DNA fragments, as a reagent in laboratory testing, as a medium for separating proteins and nucleic acids in gel filtration chromatography. (See: Kirk-Othmer, Encyclopedia of Chemical Technology, 1968, 2nd ed., vol. 17, pp. 764-768).

Based on the foregoing, the applicable subheading for agarose in powdered form will be 3913.90.2050, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), which provides for other polysaccharides and their derivatives in primary forms. The rate of duty is 5.8 percent ad valorem.

This merchandise may be subject to the requirements of the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, which is administered by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. You may contact them at 5600 Fishers Lane, Rockville, Maryland 20857, telephone number (301) 443-6553.

This ruling is being issued under the provisions of Part 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 F. Cantone at 212-466-5488.


Robert B. Swierupski

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