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NY N010853

June 5, 2007



TARIFF NO.: 0306.13.0040; 1605.20.1030

Ms. Barbara B. Nguyen
The Gwenn Law Group
12832 Garden Grove Blvd., Ste. 230
Garden Grove, California 92843

RE: The tariff classification and country of origin of U.S. and Mexican shrimp processed in Vietnam.

Dear Ms. Nguyen:

In your letter dated April 21, 2007, you requested a tariff classification and country-of-origin ruling on behalf of Mseafood Corporation.

You have outlined a scenario in which raw, unprocessed frozen shrimp of U.S. or Mexican origin will be shipped to Vietnam for processing. After being processed in Vietnam, the shrimp (again in frozen form) will be imported into the United States for human consumption. You seek a determination as to the proper tariff classification and country of origin, for marking purposes, of the processed shrimp.

The species involved are identified as follows: Peneaus setiferus (Gulf white shrimp), Penaeus duorarum (Gulf pink shrimp), Peneaus merguiensis (Banana shrimp) and Metapenaeus monoceros (Brown shrimp/prawn). The processing in Vietnam will in each instance be one or more of the following: beheading, peeling, removing the tails, de-veining, and/or cooking. Based on your presentation, it appears that any cooked versions of the imported processed shrimp will be in peeled condition.

The applicable subheading for the frozen, processed shrimp, when imported in raw, unpeeled condition (for example, “headless, shell-on”) will be 0306.13.00, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), which provides for crustaceans, whether in shell or not, live, fresh, chilled, frozen, dried, salted or in brine, fit for human consumption: frozen: shrimps and prawns: shell-on, imported in accordance with Statistical Note 1 to chapter 3. The statistical suffix, in the range of “03” to “27”, will depend on the count size, as specified in the HTSUS. The rate of duty will be Free.

The applicable subheading for the frozen, processed shrimp, when imported in raw, peeled condition (for example, “raw, peeled, tail-on”) will be 0306.13.0040, HTSUS, which provides for crustaceans, whether in shell or not, live, fresh, chilled, frozen, dried, salted or in brine, fit for human consumption: frozen: shrimps and prawns: peeled, imported in accordance with Statistical Note 1 to chapter 3. The rate of duty will be Free.

The applicable subheading for the frozen, processed shrimp, when imported in cooked, peeled condition (for example, “cooked, peeled, deveined”) will be 1605.20.1030, HTSUS, which provides for crustaceans, molluscs and other aquatic invertebrates, prepared or preserved: shrimps and prawns: other: frozen, imported in accordance with Statistical Note 1 to chapter 16: other: other. (Note: If the product is imported in airtight containers, the applicable statistical suffix will be “10”, instead of “30”.) The rate of duty will be Free.

Duty rates are provided for your convenience and are subject to change. The text of the most recent HTSUS and the accompanying duty rates are provided on World Wide Web at http://www.usitc.gov/tata/hts/.

Certain shrimp from Vietnam may be subject to antidumping duties or countervailing duties. Written decisions regarding the scope of AD/CVD orders are issued by the Import Administration in the Department of Commerce and are separate from tariff classification and origin rulings issued by Customs and Border Protection. You can contact them at http://www.trade.gov/ia/ (click on “Contact Us”). For your information, you can view a list of current AD/CVD cases at the United States International Trade Commission website at http://www.usitc.gov (click on “Antidumping and countervailing duty investigations”), and you can search AD/CVD deposit and liquidation messages using the AD/CVD Search tool at http://www.cbp.gov (click on “Import” and “AD/CVD”).

This merchandise may be subject to additional requirements administered by the following agencies, whose addresses are provided for your reference:

U.S. Department of State
Bureau of Oceans & Int’l. Environmental & Scientific Affairs Office of Marine Conservation
2201 C Street, NW
Washington, DC 20520
Telephone: (202) 647-2335

U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
5600 Fishers Lane
Rockville, MD 20857
Telephone: (301) 443-6553

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)
Products Program
4700 River Road, Unit 40
Riverdale, MD 20737-1231
Telephone: (301) 734-3277

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)
Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS)
1400 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, D.C. 20250
Telephone: (202) 720-8998

This merchandise is subject to The Public Health Security and Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Act of 2002 (The Bioterrorism Act), which is regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Information on the Bioterrorism Act can be obtained by calling FDA at 301-575-0156, or at the Web site www.fda.gov/oc/bioterrorism/bioact.html.

Country of Origin

Section 304, Tariff Act of 1930, as amended (19 U.S.C. 1304), provides that, unless excepted, every article of foreign origin (or its container) imported into the U.S. 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 U.S. the English name of the country of origin of the article.

Part 134, Customs Regulations (19 CFR Part 134), implements the country of origin marking requirements and exceptions of 19 U.S.C. 1304. Pursuant to 19 CFR Section 134.1(b), the country of origin is the country of manufacture, production or growth of any article of foreign origin entering the U.S. Further work or material added to an article in another country must effect a substantial transformation in order to render such country the country of origin within the meaning of Part 134 of the regulations.

A substantial transformation occurs when a new and different article of commerce emerges from a process with a new name, character or use different from that possessed by the article prior to processing. See United States v. Gibson-Thomsen Co., Inc., 27 C.C.P.A. 267 (C.A.D. 98) (1940).

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has previously ruled that the processing of shrimp by means identical or similar to those you outline (i.e., peeling, de-veining, cooking, etc.) does not effect a substantial transformation. See Headquarters Ruling Letters 731763 (5/17/89), 563033 (7/6/04) and 563063 (7/26/04). Accordingly, we find that even after being processed in Vietnam, the products currently under discussion retain their initial country-of-origin status for CBP marking purposes. Therefore, the containers of processed Mexican shrimp should be marked to indicate that their contents are products of Mexico, and, if applicable, the certification procedures of 19 CFR 134.25 should be followed. However, since the processed U.S. shrimp will not be regarded as “foreign” for marking purposes, their containers will not be required to be marked. (The question of whether those containers may be marked “Product of U.S.A.” is under the jurisdiction of the Federal Trade Commission, which may be consulted on that matter.)

With respect to “concerns regarding the integrity and genuineness of the finished product,” you also requested guidance as to the preferable/acceptable method of supervision of all stages of your proposed scenario. Although we are not in a position to provide specific instructions, we suggest that care be taken to establish strict controls over the tracking of product/inventory to prevent the possibility of any commingling and/or substitution. The ability to unequivocally identify the origin of any given product at any step in the procedure should be maintained. Documentation and photos detailing how this is done, both generally and for specific lots of product, should be generated and made available to CBP upon request.

This ruling is being issued under the provisions of Part 177 of the Customs Regulations (19 C.F.R. 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 Nathan Rosenstein at 646-733-3030.


Robert B. Swierupski

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