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HQ 961704 / 961716

October 14, 1998

CLA-2 RR:CR:GC 961704 / 961716 MGM


TARIFF NO.: 2938.90.00

Port Director
U.S. Customs Service
#1 La Puntilla
San Juan, PR 00901

RE: Protests 4909-98-100005 and 4909-98-100009; Sennosides

Dear Port Director:

This is our decision on Protests 4909-98-100005 and 4909-98-100009, concerning your classification decision regarding a mixture of glycosides consisting of sennoside A (CAS # 81-27-6), sennoside A calcium salt (CAS # 52730-36-6), sennoside B (CAS # 128-57-4), and sennoside B calcium salt (CAS # 52730-37-7), under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA). In preparing this decision, consideration was given to a memorandum submitted on behalf of the protestant received April 28, 1998, and to arguments presented at a meeting at Customs Headquarters on August 18, 1998.


The subject commodity is a mixture of sennosides A and B and their calcium salts. Sennoside A and sennoside B (each having the formula C42H38O20) each contain two glucose residues in glycosidic linkage with two anthraquinones. These compounds are optical isomers, that is, they differ in the relative positions of groups bound to the chiral carbons. The calcium salts of these compounds are formed by dissociation of the acidic hydrogens from both carboxyl groups and replacement with a single calcium cation. Customs Laboratory Report 9-28-20005-001, dated November 12, 1997, states that "The sample, a brown powder, has the characteristics of sennosides. According to USP, sennosides is a partially purified natural complex of anthraquinone glucosides."

Protestant entered the merchandise under subheading 2938.90.0000, HTSUSA, as "Glycosides and vegetable alkaloids, natural or reproduced by synthesis, and their salts, ethers, esters and other derivatives: Glycosides, natural or reproduced by synthesis, and their salts, ethers, esters and other derivatives: other." Protestant asserts that the merchandise is eligible for duty-free entry pursuant to General Note 13 because it is included in the Pharmaceutical
Appendix. In the alternative, Protestant argues that the merchandise should be classified in heading 3003, HTSUSA, as a mixed medicament. The entries in Protest 4909-98-100005 were made June 11, 1997, and October 10, 1997, and were liquidated December 12, 1997 and December 19, 1997, respectively. Protest 4909-98-100005 was timely filed on March 10, 1998. The entries in Protest 4909-98-100009 were made August 8, 1997, and September 5, 1997, and were liquidated March 13, 1998. A protest was timely filed on April 1, 1998.


1. Whether mixtures of sennosides are classified in subheading 2938.90.0000, HTSUSA.

2. If so, whether this merchandise is listed in the Pharmaceutical Appendix and therefore entitled to duty-free entry.



Merchandise imported into the U.S. is classified under the HTSUSA. Tariff classification is governed by the principles set forth in the General Rules of Interpretation (GRIs) and, in the absence of special language or context which requires otherwise, by the Additional U.S. Rules of Interpretation. The GRIs and the Additional U.S. Rules of Interpretation are part of the HTSUSA and are to be considered statutory provisions of law.

GRI 1 requires that classification be determined first according to the terms of the headings of the tariff schedule and any relative section or chapter notes and, unless otherwise required, according to the remaining GRIs taken in order. GRI 6 requires that the classification of goods in the subheadings of headings shall be determined according to the terms of those subheadings, any related subheading notes and mutatis mutandis, to the GRIs.

In understanding the language of the HTSUSA, the Explanatory Notes (ENs) of the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System may be utilized. The ENs, although not dispositive or legally binding, provide a commentary on the scope of each heading, and are generally indicative of the proper interpretation of the HTSUSA. See, T.D. 89-80, 54 Fed. Reg. 35127 (August 23, 1989).

The protestant, in its primary argument, urges that sennosides should be classified in subheading 2938.90.00, HTSUSA. This is in agreement with your classification. Headings of Chapter 29 apply to mixtures of two or more isomers of the same organic compound. Chapter 29, Note 1(b). Heading 2938 includes glycosides and their salts. A glycoside is "any one of a group of compounds consisting of a pyranose sugar residue, such as glucose, linked to a noncarbohydrate residue (R) by a glycosidic bond." Daintith, A Dictionary of Chemistry, third ed., Oxford Paperback Reference. EN 29.38 states that this heading also covers natural mixtures of glycosides and their derivatives. Thus, this heading includes a natural mixture of sennosides and their calcium salts.

Within heading 2938, there are only two subheadings. The first is an eo nomine provision for rutoside (C27H30O16 ; CAS # 153-18-4) and its derivatives; the second is a residual provision for "other" glycosides. As sennosides differ from rutoside, this merchandise is properly classified in the residual provision, subheading 2938.90.00, HTSUSA.

In the alternative, protestant argues that the merchandise should be classified in subheading 3003.90.00, HTSUSA, as "Medicaments...consisting of two or more constituents which have been mixed together for therapeutic or prophylactic uses, not put up in measured doses or in forms or packings for retail sale: other." However, Note 3(a)(2) to Chapter 30 states that goods of Chapter 29 are to be treated as unmixed products for the purposes of heading 3003. Therefore, this merchandise, which is classifiable in Chapter 29, is not "mixed," and cannot be classified in heading 3003.

Duty-Free Treatment

Protestant argues that, if the merchandise is properly classified in subheading 2938.90.00, it is entitled to duty-free entry because the rate of duty "Free" followed by the symbol "K" in parantheses appears in the "Special" subcolumn for this subheading and the merchandise is listed in the pharmaceutical appendix to the tariff schedule. General Note 13 to the Tariff Schedule. Table 3 of the Pharmaceutical Appendix reads, in part:

Product Name CAS Number
Sennoside A 81-27-6
Sennoside A, calcium salt 52730-36-6
Sennoside B 128-57-4
Sennoside B, calcium salt 52730-37-7.

There is no listing for "sennosides" or "mixed sennosides." The merchandise being entered is a powder which is a mixture of all four of the above compounds. A product is not entitled to duty-free treatment unless it is actually listed in the Pharmaceutical Appendix. Despite having each of its component compounds included in the Appendix, this merchandise, a mixture of sennosides, is not itself listed in the Pharmaceutical Appendix. Customs has no statutory authority to expand the Pharmaceutical Appendix. The subject merchandise is therefore not covered by General Note 13 and is not eligible for duty-free entry.


1. Naturally occurring mixtures of sennosides are correctly classified under subheading 2938.90.00, HTSUSA.

2. The merchandise is not listed in the pharmaceutical appendix and is not eligible for duty-free entry.

The protest is DENIED.

In accordance with section 3A(11)(b) of Customs Directive 099 3550-065, dated August 4, 1993, Subject: Revised Protest Directive, this decision should be mailed by your office, together with the Customs Form 19, Notice of Action, to the Protestant no later than 60 days from the date of this letter. Any reliquidation of the entry in accordance with this decision must be accomplished prior to the mailing of the decision. Sixty days from the date of this decision, the Office of Regulations and Rulings will take steps to make the decision available to Customs personnel via the Customs Rulings Module in ACS and to the public via the Diskette Subscription Service, Freedom of Information Act and other public access channels.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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