United States International Trade Commision Rulings And Harmonized Tariff Schedule
faqs.org  Rulings By Number  Rulings By Category  Tariff Numbers
faqs.org > Rulings and Tariffs Home > Rulings By Number > 2001 HQ Rulings > HQ 562039 - HQ 961103 > HQ 562157

Previous Ruling Next Ruling
HQ 562157

November 27, 2001

CLA-2 RR:CR:SM 562157 KSG


Cheryl Ellsworth, Esq.
Harris Ellsworth & Levin
The Watergate, Suite 1113
2600 Virginia Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20037-1905

RE: U.S. Note 2(b), Subchapter II, Chapter 98; beans; packing containers

Dear Ms. Ellsworth:

This is in reference to your letter dated June 21, 2001, requesting a binding ruling on behalf of your client, Empresas La Famosa, Inc., regarding the eligibility of certain pink beans, pinto beans, white beans, black beans, red kidney beans and chick peas in brine for duty-free treatment under U.S. Note 2(b), subchapter II, Chapter 98 of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States ("HTSUS").


The six varieties of beans: pink beans, pinto beans, black beans, white beans, red kidney beans, and chick peas are products of the United States. Also, salt, calcium disodium EDTA, and disodium EDTA are products of the United States. The water and materials used to package the beans are products of the Dominican Republic.

Pinto beans, pink beans, white beans, black beans, red kidney beans and chick peas in brine are processed by Productos del Tropico, C. por A. in the Dominican Republic.

The processing in the Dominican Republic is essentially a canning operation. A hydrating study is performed on the dry beans and they are soaked overnight. The beans are then passed over a riffle washer to remove stones and a magnet plate to remove any metal particles. Beans that are split, with blemished grains, or with loose skin and other defects, are removed. The beans are then put through a blancher, which cleans the beans, removes entrapped air, detains entrapped enzyme activity and raises the temperature of the beans. After blanching, the beans are fed into the bean filler, which deposits approximately 200 grams of beans into empty cans. Brine (a solution of water, salt, and, in some of the varieties, either calcium disodium EDTA or disodium EDTA) heated to 180 degrees F is added until the beans reach their complete net weight of 15.5 ounces. The cans are vacuum-sealed at a temperature of 160 degrees F.

Once sealed, the cans are delivered to the rotary cooker, where terminal process is performed for 15.6 minutes at 260 degrees F. Then the cans are cooled and sent to be labeled and packed. The canned beans are warehoused for a minimum of ten days for incubation purposes, and to verify that commercial sterilization has been achieved. The beans are packed in cases of 24 cans each for export to the United States.


Whether the canned beans are eligible for a duty preference under U.S. Note 2(b), Subchapter II, Chapter 98, HTSUS.


Section 222 of the Customs and Trade Act of 1990 (Public Law 101-382) amended U.S. Note 2, Subchapter II, Chapter 98, HTSUS ("U.S. Note 2(b)"), to provide for duty-free treatment of articles (other than textile and apparel articles, and petroleum and petroleum products) which are assembled or processed in a Caribbean Basin Economic Recovery Act (CBERA) beneficiary country (BC) wholly of fabricated components or ingredients (except water) of U.S. origin. The purpose of this limited exception to the general Caribbean Basin Initiative rules of origin is to encourage small-scale investments in assembly and processing facilities in areas of the Caribbean that are not able to support full-fledged manufacturing or processing operations. In turn, the amendment encourages greater sales of U.S. products and further integration of production between the United States and the Caribbean. See sec. 2007, S. Rep. No. 252, 101th Cong. (1990).

U.S. Note 2(b), provides as follows:

(b) No article (except a textile article, apparel article, or petroleum, or any product derived from petroleum, provided for in heading 2709 or 2710) may be treated as a foreign article, or as subject to duty, if--

(I) the article is--

(A) assembled or processed in whole of fabricated components that are a product of the United States, or

(B) processed in whole of ingredients (other than water) that are a product of the United States, in a beneficiary country; and

(ii) neither the fabricated components, materials or ingredients, after exportation from the United States, nor the article itself, before importation into the United States, enters the commerce of any foreign country other than a beneficiary country.

As used in the note, the term “beneficiary country” means a country listed in General Note 7(a), HTSUS. The Dominican Republic is listed in General Note 7(a), HTSUS, as a designated beneficiary country.

Based on the facts presented, all the ingredients except water are a product of the United States, and the processing is performed in a designated BC. The issue presented is whether the cans, which are manufactured in the Dominican Republic, exclude the finished product from eligibility under U.S. Note 2(b). Customs held in two previous rulings, HQ 556072, dated July 1, 1991, and HQ 557544, dated October 28, 1993, that foreign-origin packaging materials of a kind normally used for packing such goods and not intended for repetitive use, where the article otherwise qualifies for U.S. Note 2(b), are also eligible for duty free entry under U.S. Note 2(b). Customs relied on General Rule of Interpretation 5(b), HTSUS, which provides, in part:

Packing materials and packing containers entered with the goods therein shall be classified with the goods if they are of a kind normally used for packing such goods. However, this provision is not binding when such packing materials or packing containers are clearly suitable for repetitive use.

Based on the above, we find that the cans of Dominican Republic-origin are classified with the beans and chick peas, and do not exclude the finished canned articles from duty free treatment under U.S. Note 2(b). Assuming that the beans, chick peas and other U.S.-origin ingredients will be shipped directly to the Dominican Republic and the articles at issue are shipped directly to the U.S. without entering into the commerce of any foreign country other than a BC, the canned beans and chick peas may be entered duty-free under U.S. Note 2(b), provided all documentation requirements are met. For statistical purposes, the canned beans and chick peas are classified in subheading 9802.00.5010, HTSUS.

The provisions of 19 U.S.C. 1304 require that imported foreign articles be marked with their country of origin. U.S. Note 2(b) states that articles eligible for duty-free treatment under U.S. Note 2(b) may not be treated as foreign. Pursuant to telex 9264071, dated September 28, 1990, there is no basis for requiring that articles eligible for U.S. Note 2(b) be marked with the Caribbean country of processing or assembly. Therefore, the canned beans and chick peas are not subject to the marking requirements of 19 U.S.C. 1304.


The six types of beans and chick peas described above are eligible for duty-free treatment under U.S. Note 2(b), Subchapter II, Chapter 98, HTSUS, provided the direct shipment requirements and documentation requirements set forth in telex 9264071 are met. The articles are not subject to the marking requirements of 19 U.S.C. 1304.

A copy of this ruling letter should be attached to the entry documents filed at the time this merchandise is 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, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

Previous Ruling Next Ruling

See also: