CLA-2 CO:R:C:F: 953858 ALS

District Director of Customs
555 Battery Street
Room 319
San Francisco, CA 94111

RE: Request for Further Review of Protest 2809-92-101687, dated October 8, 1992, Concerning the Classification of Nitromethane from China

Dear Mr. Andrews:

This ruling is on a protest that was filed against your decision of May 15, 1992, in the liquidation of an entry covering the referenced item. It appears that the importer's claim is that it detrimentally relied on the assessment of duty at 3.7 percent ad valorem and that implementation of New York Ruling Letter (NYRL) 869027 of December 18, 1991, should be delayed pursuant to section 177.9(e), Customs Regulations. Since detrimental reliance is not a matter subject to protest, we will deal with the protest in this document and will respond directly to the importer as to the issue of detrimental reliance.


The product under consideration is the chemical nitromethane (98.5 percent minimum purity). New York Ruling Letter (NYRL) 869027, dated December 18, 1991, concluded that the chemical (CAS# 75-52- 5) was classifiable in subheading 2904.20.5000, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA). That subheading provides for other derivatives of hydrocarbons containing only nitro or only nitroso groups. Headquarters Ruling Letter 952851, dated March 3, 1993, covering - 2 -

other importations of the same product by the same importer found that the merchandise is properly classifiable in subheading 2904.20.5000. That ruling affirmed NYRL 869027.


What is the classification of nitromethane?


Classification of merchandise under the HTSUSA is governed by the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's) taken in order. GRI 1 provides that the classification is determined first in accordance with the terms of the heading and any relative section and chapter notes. If GRI 1 fails to classify the goods and if the heading and legal notes do not otherwise require, the remaining GRI's are applied, taken in order.

In considering this matter we noted that the importer began importing the chemical in late October 1991. The shipments in question were entered under subheading 2904.90.5000, HTSUSA, by the importer's Customs broker. Some of the entries were liquidated as entered. NYRL 869027, issued on December 18, 1991, concluded that the chemical of 95 percent minimum purity should be classified under subheading 2904.20.5000, HTSUSA.

We have reviewed the classification of the chemical nitromethane, noting that such chemical, as imported, is of 98.5 percent minimum purity. While heading 2904, HTSUSA, under which both of the referenced subheadings fall, covers sulfonated, nitrated or nitrosated derivatives of hydrocarbons, whether or not halogenated, we have concluded that subheading 2904.20, HTSUSA, which provides for derivatives containing only nitro or only nitroso groups, more specifically covers the chemical. This is the same conclusion as that reached in HRL 952851 of March 3, 1993, regarding Protest 5301-2-100272, dated July 2, 1992, concerning entries filed at Houston.


Nitromethane from China of 98.5 percent minimum purity is classifiable under subheading 2904.20.5000, HTSUSA, and subject to a general rate of duty of 7.9 percent ad valorem.

Since the classification indicated above is the same as the classification under which the entry was liquidated, you are - 3 -

instructed to deny the protest in full. A copy of this decision should be attached to the Customs Form 19 and provided to the protestant as part of the notice of action on the protest.

The claim of detrimental reliance will be the subject of a separate letter to the importer.

NYRL 869027 is affirmed.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division