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NY E86383

September 28, 1999

CLA-2-20:RR:NC:2:231 E86383


TARIFF NO.: 2008.19.8500

Mr. Abdullah Basamah
The Golden Triangle Trading company
17813 South Main Street, Suite 118
Gardena, CA 90248

RE: The tariff classification of mixtures of nuts from Lebanon.

Dear Mr. Basamah:

In your letter, dated August 12, 1999, you have requested a tariff classification ruling.

The merchandise consists of snack products, namely, mixtures of nuts. Your letter was accompanied by samples of "AL-RIFAI" brand "Mixed Kernels Extra," packed in a plastic bag of 500 grams (17.5 ounces), net, and "Spicy Mixed Kernels," packed in a cylindrical container of 200 grams (7 ounces), net.

"Mixed Kernels Extra" is a mixture of processed pistachio nuts, almonds and cashew nuts. Other ingredients are shown as salt, starch, vegetable oil and lemon (flavor). "Spicy Mixed Kernels" is a mixture of curry flavored pistachio nuts, hot almonds, cheese flavored cashew nuts, and smoked flavored almonds. Additional ingredients are listed as salt, vegetable oil, starch, lemon (flavor), pepper, and tomato (flavor).

In your correspondence you state that a local Customs office recently reclassified a shipment of this merchandise and gave it a duty rate of 23.3 percent ad valorem. You question why mixed nuts would be dutiable at this high rate, when the rates for individual nuts, when imported separately, are much lower. You state that our classification ruling on this merchandise will serve as a guideline for your company in conducting future transactions.

The classification of goods in the Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS) is governed by the General rules of Interpretation (GRIs), which are applied in order. GRI 1 states, "...for legal purposes, classification shall be determined according to the terms of the headings, and any relative section or chapter notes and, provided such headings or notes do not otherwise require, according to...," and then the HTS enumerates the subsequent GRIs. The classification of mixed nuts is under GRI 1, according to the terms of heading 20.08, HTS.

Heading 20.08 provides for "Fruit, nuts and other edible parts of plants, otherwise prepared or preserved, whether or not containing added sugar or other sweetening matter or spirit, not elsewhere specified or included." The instant mixtures consist of nuts that have been roasted, salted and/or flavored. These products are not specified or included elsewhere in the tariff and, thus, are included in the heading. Within heading 20.08, subheading 2008.1-, HTS, provides for "Nuts, peanuts (ground-nuts) and other seeds, whether or not mixed together." Within the subheading, peanuts are provided for in subheading 2008.11, while other products of the subheading, "including mixtures" of products described in the subheading, are classifiable in subheading 2008.19. Individual kinds of nuts are provided for by name, with separate duty rate lines, in subheadings 2008.19.10 through 2008.19.50, HTSUS. Of the final two subheadings under 2008.19, subheading 2008.19.8500 provides specifically for "Mixtures," while subheading 2008.19.90 includes other nuts and seeds not specifically provided for in other subheadings of 2008.19.

The two instant products are mixtures of pistachio nuts, almonds and cashews. While cashews are provided for in subheading 2008.19.1040, pistachios in subheading 2008.19.3020 and almonds in subheading 2008.19.4000, HTSUS, none of these subheadings describe the product in its imported condition, that is, as "mixed nuts." Accordingly, these products are both classifiable as "mixtures" in that subheading which describes the products in their condition as imported.

The applicable subheading for "AL-RIFAI" brand "Mixed Kernels Extra" and "Spicy Mixed Kernels" will be 2008.19.8500, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTS), which provides for "Mixtures" of "Nuts, peanuts (ground-nuts) and other seeds." The rate of duty will be 23.3 percent ad valorem.

In your letter you question an apparent disparity between the duty rate for mixtures and those for cashews, pistachios and almonds, if entered separately. Tariff rates of duty are established, as law, by the U.S. Congress. Through trade legislation, Congress may change duty rates for individual products, creating new tariff provisions with separate rate lines to accomplish these changes. Therefore, no logical nexus exists, necessarily, between the different provisions in the tariff (i.e., when comparing different duty rates within the same heading).

Regarding the two samples of "AL-RIFAI" brand "Assorted Mix Extra" in the 200 gram (7 ounce) cylindrical container and the "Assorted Mix Extra" in the one ounce plastic foil bag, we are unable to issue a classification ruling at this time. The sample labels indicate, in one case, the presence in the product of hazel nuts and, in the other, the presence of hazel nuts and chickpeas. On examination, these ingredients were not found in the samples. If you still wish to obtain a classification ruling on these products, please submit appropriate samples along with an accurate component weight breakdown, showing the percent by weight of each constituent ingredient.

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 Thomas Brady at (212) 637-7064.


Robert B. Swierupski

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