CLA-2 CO:R:C:G 084928 SS

Tariff No.: 0804.10.8000

Ms. Loretta J. Evans
Fritz Companies, Inc.
P.O. Drawer "G"
Blaine, Washington 98230

RE: Classification and Country of Origin of Sugar Coated, Chopped Dates

Dear Ms. Evans:

This letter is in response to your request dated February 27, 1989, on behalf of Service Packing Co., concerning the classification under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), and country of origin of whole, pitted dates imported from Pakistan into Canada where the dates are further processed.


The subject merchandise is chopped dates coated with dextrose and "Cantab-Plus", which is a form of dextrose. The dates are grown and pitted in Pakistan, then imported into Canada where they are first subjected to a dry heat treatment at 115`F, for a period of three days. They are then macerated, chopped into 3/8-inch pieces and coated with dextrose and "Cantab-Plus". The chopped, coated dates are imported into the United States for use in cereals. The coating facilitates the flow of the dates through the macerating machines, which remove any remaining pits. The sugar coating mixture comprises 8.75 percent of the product's weight.


(1) What is the proper tariff classification of pitted, dextrose-"Cantab-Plus", chopped dates?

(2) What is the country of origin of whole, pitted dates imported from Pakistan into Canada where they are sugar coated, macerated and chopped for export to the United States?

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Subheading 0804.10.8000, HTSUS, provides for other fresh or dried dates. The Explanatory Notes, which should be consulted for guidance in interpretations of the provisions of the HTSUS, state that the fruits of Chapter 8 may be fresh, frozen (whether or not previously cooked by steaming or in boiling water or containing added sweetening matter) or dried (including dehydrated, evaporated or freeze-dried. The Notes further specifically state that the addition of small quantities of sugar does not affect the classification of fruit in this Chapter, and that the Chapter also includes dried fruit (e.g., dates and prunes), the exterior of which may be covered with a deposit of dried natural sugar....

Importer contends that the subject merchandise is properly classifiable under subheading 2008.99.2500, HTSUS, which provides for dates, otherwise prepared or preserved. Importer bases this claim on the premise that the sugar coating and the maceration process render the subject dates as "fruits otherwise prepared" as well as "containing added sugar". The Explanatory Notes to this heading state that this heading covers fruit preserved or prepared otherwise (emphasis added) than by any of the processes specified in other Chapters.

The dates in issue are heat dried, sugar coated, macerated and chopped. These preparations, as well as the small amount of sugar added to the subject dates, are clearly within the scope of preparations and added sugar allowed under Chapter 8, HTSUS.

Therefore, since the subject dates are prepared by the processes described in Chapter 8, HTSUS, they are precluded from classification under Chapter 20, HTSUS.

In response to your inquiry concerning the country of origin of the subject merchandise, Section 134.1(b) of the Customs Regulations (19 CFR 134.1(b)) provides that the "[c]ountry of origin" means 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 Part 134, Customs Regulations (19 CFR Part 134)

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Substantial transformation requires that "[t]here must be a transformation; a new and different article must emerge, 'having distinctive name, character, or use.'" Anheuser-Busch Brewing Ass'n v. United States, 207 U.S. 556, 28 S. Ct 204 (1908). This test remains the fundamental test for substantial transformation, and has been applied to cases involving a variety of issues, including marking cases. See Midwood Industries v. United States, 313 F. Supp. 951, 64 Cust. Ct. (1970).

In the instant case, the wholly grown, pitted dates, a product of Pakistan, are shipped to Canada where they are macerated, sugar coated, and chopped. The maceration process merely serves to remove any remaining pits. The sugar coating and chopping do not change the character or use of the dates. They are still essentially the same dates and are recognizable as such, having the same character and use as the dates exported from Pakistan.

Accordingly, for marking purposes, the subject merchandise has not undergone a substantial transformation and is therefore a product of Pakistan.

In determining whether goods are eligible for reduced rates under the U.S./Canada Free Trade Agreement (FTA), the General Rules of Origin for goods must be read in conjunction with the definitions in Article 304, the Interpretative Rules in Annex 301.2, and the Specific Rules in Annex 301.2.

Article 301, Chapter 3, General Rules of the FTA state the rules of origin for goods in pertinent part:


2. In addition, goods originate in the territory of a Party if they have been transformed in the territory of either Party or both Parties so as to be subject to a change in tariff classification as described in Annex 301.2 or to such other requirements as the Annex may provide when no change in tariff classification occurs, and they meet the other conditions set out in that Annex.


Section II of the Specific Rules in Annex 301.2 of the FTA provides for merchandise classifiable under Chapters 6-14, HTSUS. The rules of this section state in relevant part:

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1. A change from one chapter to another; no changes within chapters except that agricultural and horticultural goods grown in the territory of that Party shall be treated as originating within the territory of that Party even if grown from seed or bulbs imported from a third country.

Since the subject merchandise remains properly classifiable under the same chapter (Chapter 8) after importation and processing in Canada, such merchandise is not eligible for duty preference under the FTA.


The subject merchandise is properly classifiable under subheading 0804.10.8000, dutiable at a rate of 35 percent ad valorem.

The merchandise in issue, whole, pitted dates imported from Pakistan into Canada where they are heat treated, macerated, sugar coated and chopped for export to the United States, is a product of Pakistan and not eligible for preference under the FTA.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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