CLA-2 CO:R:C:V 555519 KAC
Jonathon R. Moore, Esq.
Windels, Marx, Davies & Ives
1701 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20006
RE: Applicability of HTSUS subheading 9801.00.10 to Uncle Ben's
Long Grain & Wild Rice to be imported from Canada
Dear Mr. Moore:
This is in response to your letters of October 5, 1989, and
February 7, 1990, on behalf of Effem Foods Ltd., requesting a
ruling on the applicability of subheading 9801.00.10, Harmonized
Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), to Uncle Ben's Long
Grain & Wild Rice to be imported from Canada. A sample was
submitted for examination.
All of the ingredients of Uncle Ben's Long Grain & Wild Rice
are of U.S. growth or manufacture except for approximately .67
percent of the seasonings mix. The packaging materials,
consisting of the ingredient pouches and exterior boxes, will be
of Canadian origin. In the U.S., long grain white rice and wild
rice will undergo various processes, including parboiling,
enrichment, cleaning and drying. Certain vegetables will be
deydrated in the U.S. and blended according to Uncle Ben's
recipe, and other flavorings, comprising the remainder of the
seasonings mix, also will be blended in the U.S. according to the
The proposed Canadian operations consist of receiving
separate bulk commodities of long grain white rice, wild rice,
dehydrated vegetables (including onion, parsley, spinach, and
celery), and seasonings (including natural flavorings, sugar,
salt, smoked yeast, spices, sunflower oil and tumeric) from the
U.S. vendors. Your client will then combine the long grain white
and wild rice together in a pouch, and combine the dehydrated
vegetables and seasonings together in a second pouch. The
operation involves the use of a conveyor belt with two hoppers
above. A pouch forming machine will feed pre-printed rolls of
paper into a device which will form the pouch, fill it with the
proper premeasured amounts of each rice from two separate
nozzles, and then seal the pouch. A similar operation will be
utilized to fill the seasonings/vegetables pouch. Further down
the conveyor belt a cartoning machine will form exterior boxes
from pre-printed cardboard forms, and place a rice pouch and a
seasonings/vegetables pouch in each box. After the carton is
sealed, the product continues down the conveyor belt where
approximately 24 boxes will be placed in a shipping container for
shipment to the U.S.
Whether the Uncle Ben's Long Grain & Wild Rice will qualify
for the duty exemption available under HTSUS subheading
9801.00.10 when returned to the U.S.
LAW & ANALYSIS:
HTSUS subheading 9801.00.10 provides for the free entry of
U.S. products that are exported and returned without having been
advanced in value or improved in condition by any means while
abroad, provided the documentary requirements of section 10.1,
Customs Regulations (19 CFR 10.1), are met. While some change in
the condition of the product while it is abroad is permissible,
operations which either advance the value or improve the
condition of the exported product render it ineligible for duty
free entry upon return to the U.S. See, Border Brokerage Company
Inc. v. United States, 65 Cust.Ct. 50, C.D. 4052, 314 F.Supp.
788, (1970), appeal dismissed, 58 CCPA 165 (1970).
We have previously held in Headquarters Ruling Letter 553080
dated November 15, 1984, that the addition abroad of U.S. sugar
to already prepared cocktail mix concentrate of U.S. origin
establishes a new product, different from each of the mixes which
make up the whole. The identity of each component mix is lost
and merged in a new marketable product, having its own commercial
identity and use. Accordingly, we concluded that the operations
which combine the exported ingredients into a new product advance
in value and improve in condition these ingredients and,
therefore, they do not qualify for the duty exemption of item
800.00, Tariff Schedules of the United States (TSUS) (now
subheading 9801.00.10, HTSUS).
You contend that the holding in HQ 553080 should not apply
to the facts presented here since that ruling involved the
blending of various ingredients, while the ingredients in the
instant case will not be blended or mixed but merely "dispensed"
into pouches. We are not persuaded that there is any significant
difference between the facts in HQ 553080 and those under
consideration here. It is stated in the "Facts" portion of
HQ 553080 that "most blending operations merely involved the
addition of sugar to already prepared concentrate." Moreover,
the ruling concluded that "combining the exported mixes into a
new product is contrary to the free entry provisions of item
800.00, TSUS." The foreign operations in the instant case
clearly involve the combining of two types of rice and the
combining of dehyrated vegetables and seasonings.
Accordingly, consistent with Headquarters Ruling Letter
553080, we find that the foreign operations performed in Canada
advance in value and improve in condition the exported U.S.
ingredients. Combining, according to Uncle Ben's recipe,
premeasured amounts of the long grain white and wild rice
together, and the vegetables and seasonings together create a new
and different commercial article, Uncle Ben's Long Grain & Wild
Rice. The new marketable product is sold for consumer
convenience, as the consumer need only add water and margarine to
the premeasured packets to create a side dish or meal.
Otherwise, the consumer would have to purchase all the necessary
ingredients separately, and measure and mix them together to
obtain the desired product.
On the basis of the information and sample submitted, as the
U.S. components will be advanced in value and improved in
condition abroad as a result of the foreign operations, Uncle
Ben's Long Grain and Wild Rice will not qualify for the duty
exemption under HTSUS subheading 9801.00.10.
John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division
cc: Ass't Area Dir, NIS