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HQ 964669

March 27, 2001

CLA-2 RR:CR:GC 964669ptl


TARIFF NO.: 3307.30.1000

Ms. Alice Liu
Atico International, Inc.
P.O. Box 14368
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301

RE: Bath Fizzer, NY E85194 modified.

Dear Ms. Liu:

Pursuant to a request from Atico dated July 22, 1999, to the Director, National Commodity Specialist Division, New York Ruling Letter (NY) E85194, was issued August 11, 1999, in which the various components of an Aromatherapy Bath Gift Set (Item # CO8C0022) were classified. One article, referred to as a "bath fizzer", was classified in subheading 3307.30.50, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), which provides for other bath preparations. We have reviewed that ruling and have determined that the classification of the bath fizzer therein is incorrect. Customs now believes the correct classification of the bath fizzer is in subheading 3307.30.10, HTSUS, pursuant to the analysis set forth below. This ruling does not affect the classification of the other articles classified in NY E85194.

Pursuant to section 625(c), Tariff Act of 1930, as amended (19 U.S.C. 1625(c)), notice of the proposed modification of NY E85194 was published on January 3, 2001, in the Customs Bulletin, Vol. 35, No. 1. As explained in a notice published on February 21, 2001, in Vol. 35, No. 8 of the Customs Bulletin, the period within which to submit comments on this proposal was extended to March 23, 2001. No comments were received in response to the notices.


According to NY E85194, several articles were packaged in an Aromatherapy Gift Bath Set. Three different products; a foam bath, a cream bath and a bath fizzer were all classified in subheading 3307.30.50, HTSUS. This letter only addresses the product identified as a bath fizzer and which is composed of the following ingredients: sodium carbonate, sodium sulfate, citric acid, sodium bicarbonate, sodium chloride, mineral oil, colorant and fragrance.


What is the classification of the bath fizzer?


Merchandise is classifiable under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS) in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRIs). The systematic detail of the HTSUS is such that virtually all goods are classified by application of GRI 1, that is, according to the terms of the headings of the tariff schedule and any relative Section or Chapter Notes. In the event that the goods cannot be classified solely on the basis of GRI 1, and if the headings and legal notes do not otherwise require, the remaining GRIs may then be applied in order.

In understanding the language of the HTSUS, the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System Explanatory Notes may be utilized. The Explanatory Notes (ENs), although not dispositive or legally binding, provide a commentary on the scope of each heading of the HTSUS, and are generally indicative of the proper interpretation of these headings. See T.D. 89-80, 54 Fed. Reg. 35127, 35128 (August 23, 1989).

The HTSUS headings under consideration are as follows:

3307 Pre-shave, shaving or after-shave preparations, personal deodorants, bath preparations, depilatories and other perfumery, cosmetic or toilet preparations, not elsewhere specified or included; prepared room deodorizers, whether or not perfumed or having disinfectant properties:

3307.30 Perfumed bath salts and other bath preparations:

3307.30.10 Bath salts, whether or not perfumed

3307.30.50 Other

In NY E85194, Customs classified the bath fizzer in subheading 3307.30.50, HTSUS, in reliance on HQ 950893, dated March 11, 1992, which made the question of whether or not a bath product was effervescent the primary classification distinction between headings 3307.30.10 and 3307.30.50, HTSUS. Those products which effloresced (defined as: Chem. to change either throughout or on the surface to a mealy or powdery substance upon exposure to air, as a crystalline substance through loss of water of crystallization. Random House Dictionary of the English Language) were classified in heading 3307.30.10, HTSUS, as bath salts and those which effervesced (defined as: to give off bubbles of gas Random House Dictionary of the English Language) were classified in heading 3307.30.50, HTSUS, as other bath products. Customs has reviewed this ruling and believes that the criteria used to distinguish between the two competing headings is incorrect.

Neither the HTSUS nor the ENs contain a definition of the term "bath salts." In absence of a definition of a term, the correct meaning is its common or commercial meaning. Unfortunately, according to the Cosmetic, Toiletry and Fragrance Association, there is neither an industry standard nor an industry definition of what is meant by the term "bath salts." The Random House Dictionary of the English Language defines "bath salts" as "a preparation used to soften or give a pleasant scent to a bath, as colored, sweet-smelling flakes, crystals, etc."

Hawley's Condensed Chemical Dictionary defines a salt as a compound formed when the hydrogen of an acid is replaced by a metal or its equivalent. The Kirk-Othmer Encyclopedia of Chemical Technology, Third Edition, 1979, contains the following entry under "Bath Salts" "Two types of bath salts are available. The first is formulated with crystalline salts such as rock salt and epsom salt to which color and perfume are added. These are not water softeners. The second type is the water softening type based on sesquicarbonates, phosphates, and borates. Color and perfume are added and in some products, small percentages of fatty acid ester are included for nondrying effects." Volume 7, at page 167.

Chemically, sodium carbonate and sodium bicarbonate have dual functionality in this bath salt preparation; namely, to produce an attractive effervescence and to soften the water.

As a general rule, acids react with carbonates and bicarbonates to produce carbon dioxide gas. In the instant case, when citric acid and sodium bicarbonate and sodium carbonate are placed in water the compounds dissolve and ionize. The resultant chemical reaction between the acid and the carbonate ions produces carbon dioxide gas, which results in effervescence at the surface of the water. In addition, if the water is hard, i.e., contains high concentrations of calcium and magnesium ions, the carbonate ions will precipitate out calcium and magnesium carbonates, softening the water thereby.

The relevant commercial literature (advertising, promotional flyers, packaging and labeling) all make distinctions between products which are identified and described by their manufacturers are "bath salts" and those which can be called "other bath preparations". These latter products include, among other examples, bath lotions, bath oils and bath powders. Conveniently, the tariff subheadings also divide products into two groups. Since the industry has seen fit to identify some bath products as "salts" and other products as something else, and absent language or definitions to the contrary in the tariff, Customs will classify the products accordingly.

Since this bath preparation does contain chemical salts and does, indeed, function as a water softener, and, given the fact that the release of carbon dioxide gas is purely esthetic and has no therapeutic effect, the product is a bath salt and is classifiable in subheading 3307.30.10, HTSUS.


The bath fizzer is classified in subheading 3307.30.10, HTSUS, which provides for Pre-shave, shaving or after-shave preparations, personal deodorants, bath preparations, depilatories and other perfumery, cosmetic or toilet preparations, not elsewhere specified or included; prepared room deodorizers, whether or not perfumed or having disinfectant properties: Perfumed bath salts and other bath preparations: Bath salts, whether or not perfumed.

NY E85194, dated August 11, 1999, is modified in accordance with this letter. In accordance with 19 U.S.C. 1625(c), this ruling will become effective 60 days after its publication in the Customs Bulletin.


John Durant, Director

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