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HQ 561395

February 11, 2000

MAR-05 RR:CR:SM 561395 KKV


J. Kevin Horgan, Esq.
DeKeiffer & Horgan
729 - 15th Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20005

RE: Country of origin and tariff classification of frozen fresh-water crawfish tail meat; fully-grown, live, impregnated female crawfish exported from U.S. and seeded; harvested with offspring; HRL 560904; HRL 560931; agricultural breeding stock; food product

Dear Mr. Horgan:

This is in response to your letter dated January 7, 1999, on behalf of First Coast Meat & Seafood (“First Coast”), which was addressed to the Chief, Customs Information Exchange, New York, but subsequently forwarded to our office for review.


You state that First Coast intends to export fully grown, impregnated female crawfish of U.S. origin to Guyana, where they will be placed or “seeded” into rice ponds, nest for 4 to 6 months and lay their eggs. The crawfish will hatch and grow to maturity. Subsequently, the entire crawfish crop, including both the U.S.-origin female crawfish and the offspring hatched in Guyana, will be harvested from the ponds and transferred to the processing facility in George Town.

We are informed that the crawfish will be inspected, graded for size, cleaned, boiled and sterilized by freezing. Subsequently the crawfish are de-headed, peeled, deveined, inspected, weighed, packaged into 2-pound or 5-pound bags, vacuum-sealed, shaped, checked for leaking, quick-frozen and packed into cartons before being sent to a frozen warehouse for storage. You inquire as to the tariff classification, rate of duty, and
country of origin of the crawfish upon importation as well as the applicability of any anti-dumping duties upon such merchandise.


What is the tariff classification, rate of duty, country of origin and applicability of antidumping duties to crawfish which have been processed in the manner described above?


I. Tariff Classification

The General Rules of Interpretation (GRIs) set forth the legal framework in which merchandise is to be classified under the HTSUS. GRI 1 requires that classification be determined first according to the terms of the headings of the tariff and any relative section or chapter notes and, unless otherwise required, according to the remaining GRIs. The Explanatory Notes (ENs) to the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System, which represent the official interpretation of the tariff at the international level, facilitate classification under the HTSUS by offering guidance in understanding the scope of the headings and GRIs. While not legally binding or dispositive, the ENs provide a commentary on the scope of each heading of the HTSUS and are generally indicative of the proper interpretation of these headings. See Treasury Decision (T.D.) 8980, 54 FR 35127, 35128 (August 23, 1989).

The applicable subheading for frozen, fresh-water crawfish tail meat will be 1605.40.1000, HTSUS, which provides for “Crustaceans, molluscs and other aquatic invertebrates, prepared or preserved: Other crustaceans: Other.” Under the HTSUS, the rate of duty for this subheading under either Column 1 or Column 2 is free.

II. Country of origin

Section 304 of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended (19 U.S.C. 1304), provides that, unless excepted, every article of foreign origin imported into the United States shall be marked in a conspicuous place as legibly, indelibly, and permanently as the nature of the article (or its container) will permit, in such a manner as to indicate to the ultimate purchaser in the United States the English name of the country of origin of the article. By enacting 19 U.S.C. 1304, Congress intended to ensure that the ultimate purchaser would be able to know by inspecting the marking on the imported goods the country of which the goods are the product. The evident purpose is to mark the goods so that at the time of purchase the ultimate purchaser may, by knowing where the goods were produced, be
able to buy or refuse to buy them, if such marking should influence his will. United States v. Friedlaender & Co., 27 C.C.P.A. 297, 302 C.A.D. 104 (1940).

Section 134.1(b), Customs Regulations (19 CFR 134.1(b)), defines "country of origin" as:

The country of manufacture, production, or growth of any article of foreign origin entering the United States. Further work or material added to an article in another country must effect a substantial transformation in order to render such other country the "country of origin" within the meaning of this part; however for a good of a NAFTA country, the NAFTA Marking Rules will determine the country of origin.

Accordingly, the country of origin of an article is the country in which it was wholly grown or, if processed in several countries, the country in which the article last underwent a substantial transformation. The wellestablished test for determining whether a substantial transformation has occurred is derived from language enunciated by the court in AnheuserBusch Brewing Association v. United States, 207 U.S. 556, 562 (1908), which defined the term "manufacture" as follows:

Manufacture implies a change, but every change is not manufacture and yet every change in an article is the result of treatment, labor and manipulation. But something more is necessary, as set forth and illustrated in Hartranft v. Wiegmann, 121 U.S. 609. There must be transformation; anew and different article must emerge, having a distinctive name, character or use.

Simply stated, a substantial transformation occurs “when an article emerges from a process with a new name, character, or use different from that possessed by the article prior to processing.” See Texas Instruments, Inc. v. United States, 69 CCPA 152, 681 F.2d 778 (1982) (cited with approval in Torrington Co. v. United States, 764 F. 2d 1563, 1568 (1985)).

In the case before us, the frozen crawfish tail meat to be imported into the U.S. will consist of two separate groups which have been commingled during harvesting of the crawfish from the ponds: the fully-grown, U.S.-origin impregnated female crawfish exported from the U.S. and their offspring, which will undergo birth and maturation in Guyana. With regard to the second group, the country of origin of the offspring would be Guyana, the location in which they were wholly grown and processed, pursuant to 19 CFR 134.1(b).

With regard to the U.S. female crawfish exported from the U.S. and subsequently harvested in Guyana, the Customs Service has previously considered the country of origin of crawfish tails which have undergone multi-country processing. In Headquarters Ruling Letter (HRL) 560904, dated June 22, 1998, Customs considered whole, cooked crawfish imported into the U.S. for additional processing which included re-cooking, heading, shelling and de-veining operations. Customs determined that the imported product (“whole” crawfish) and the processed article (crawfish “tails”) were essentially the same thing - cooked crawfish. Customs concluded that, despite a slight change in appearance, the fundamental character (i.e., quality) of the crawfish had already been determined at the time of importation. Lastly, Customs found that the domestic processing operations were operations that merely rendered the product ready for eating and were so simple in nature that they could easily be performed by consumers in their own kitchens. Upon concluding that the domestic processing operations did not result in a material change in name, character or use of the imported product, Customs held that the crawfish had not been substantially transformed into a product of the U.S. but retained its foreign origin.

In HRL 560931, dated July 8, 1998, Customs held that whole boiled crawfish (fresh or frozen) are not substantially transformed into a new and different product as a result of processing which includes heading, peeling, de-veining, restoring of natural juices, vacuum-packing and freezing. However, Customs determined that cooked, de-veined, shelled, frozen crawfish tails - a product which could be used in a variety of food preparations - which subsequently underwent breading and seasoning operations that rendered the finished product suitable for one single use - deep frying. We concluded that the change in use was so profound as to effect a substantial transformation.

With regard to the instant case, prior to processing operations performed in Guyana, the exported article is a live product of the animal kingdom: an impregnated female crawfish exported for and used as agricultural breeding stock. As a result of all the operations performed (i.e, harvesting, inspecting, size-grading, cleaning, boiling, sterilizing, heading, peeling, deveining, weiging, packaging, vacuum-sealing and freezing), the live breeding stock is substantially transformed into an article with a new name, character and use – a food product. Therefore, as with the breading and seasoning operations in HRL 560931, supra, we find that the processing operations performed in Guyana in this case effect a substantial transformation. Accordingly, upon importation into the U.S., the country of origin of the processed frozen crawfish meat, a commingled mixture of the exported adult and offspring which undergo birth and maturation in Guyana, is Guyana, and must be marked accordingly.

III. Antidumping Duties

With regard to the assessment of antidumping duties, it is important to note that the country of origin determinations made in this ruling are for Customs purposes only. We note that the applicability of antidumping duties to imported merchandise is solely within the jurisdiction of the Department of Commerce. Therefore, to determine whether the subject merchandise is covered under an antidumping duty order, we suggest that you contact that agency.


Based upon the information provided, fully-grown, live, impregnated female crawfish exported from the U.S. are substantially transformed into a new and different product as a result of breeding, harvesting, inspecting, size-grading, cleaning, boiling, sterilizing, heading, peeling, deveining, weiging, packaging, vacuum-sealing and freezing operations completed in Guyana. Upon importation into the U.S., the country of origin of the processed frozen crawfish meat, which consists of a commingled mixture of the exported adult and offspring which undergo birth and maturation in Guyana, is Guyana.

The holding set forth above applies only to the specific factual situation and merchandise identified in the ruling request. This position is clearly set forth in section 177.9(b)(1), Customs Regulations (19 CFR 177.9(b)(1)), which states that a ruling letter is issued on the assumption that all of the information furnished in the ruling letter, either directly, by reference, or by implication, is accurate and complete in every material respect. Should it be subsequently determined that the information furnished is not complete and does not comply with 19 CFR 177.9(b)(1), the ruling will be subject to modification or revocation. In the event there is a change in the facts previously furnished, this may affect the determination of country of origin.

A copy of this ruling letter should be attached to the entry documents filed at the time the goods are entered. If the documents have been filed without a copy, this ruling should be brought to the attention of the Customs officer handling the transaction.


John Durant

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