Port Director
Customs and Border Protection
Port of Houston
2350 N. Sam Houston Pkwy E. #1000 Houston, TX 77032-3100

RE: Application for Further Review of Protest No. 5301-06-100155 Dear Port Director: This is in reply to your correspondence forwarding Application for Further Review (AFR) of protest no. 5301-06-100155, filed by BDP International Inc., on behalf of Shrieve Chemical Products, Inc.

The protest is against Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) classification and liquidation of four entries of heavy di-linear alkylbenzene under subheading 3817.00.1000 of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), which provides for “Mixed alkylbenzenes and mixed alkylnaphthalenes, other than those of heading 2707 or 2902: Mixed alkylbenzenes: Mixed linear alkylbenzenes.” Liquidation of the entries occurred on December 2, 2005 and December 30, 2005. Protestant entered the merchandise subject to this protest in subheading 3817.00.1500, HTSUS, which provides for “Mixed alkylbenzenes and mixed alkylnaphthalenes, other than those of heading 2707 or 2902: Mixed alkylbenzenes: Other.” Protestant filed the protest with an AFR on March 20, 2006, challenging the reclassification and liquidation of the entries at issue. The protestant’s request for AFR was approved. The protest was timely filed pursuant to 19 U.S.C. 1514(c)(3).

Protestant has alleged the decision against which the protest is filed is inconsistent with a ruling issued by CBP with respect to the same merchandise. Specifically, protestant cites to New York Ruling Letter (NY) F86280, dated

August 9, 2000, which classified di-linear alkylbenzene in subheading 3817.00.1500, HTSUS. Thus, further review is warranted pursuant to 19 CFR §§174.24(a) and 174.25. FACTS:

Linear alkylbenzene is produced by reacting benzene with alkyl groups containing ten to thirteen carbon atoms that are derived from normal (straight chain) paraffins or linear alpha-olefins. The subject merchandise is derived from an alkylation process that includes the dehydrogenation of a linear paraffin followed by the conversion of the paraffin to an olefin. The linear olefin is then reacted with a benzene ring in the presence of a hydroflouric acid catalyst to form linear alkylbenzene. The linear alkylbenzene product stream is then fractionated into a mono-alkylbenzene primary product and a heavy di-linear alkylbenzene bi-product stream. Structural diagrams submitted to this office for review on November 1, 2006, indicate that the di-linear alkylbenzene chains are mixed (vary in length).


Whether the di-linear alkylbenzene is classified in subheading 3817.00.10, HTSUS, as a mixed linear alkylbenzene or in subheading 3817.00.15, HTSUS, as other.

LAW AND ANALYSIS: Classification of goods under the HTSUSA is governed by the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI). GRI 1 provides that classification shall be determined 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 GRI may then be applied.

The Explanatory Notes (EN) to the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System, which represent the official interpretation of the tariff at the international level, facilitate classification under the HTSUS by offering guidance in understanding the scope of the headings and GRI. See T.D. 89-80. 54 Fed. Reg. 35127, 35128 (Aug. 23, 1989). Alkylbenzene is an organic compound that has an alkyl group bound to a benzene ring. It may be linear or branched. A linear chain consists of a sequence of carbon atoms extending in a direct line, characteristic of paraffins and olefins. Hawley’s Condensed Chemical Dictionary,

Twelfth Edition. A branched chain is a linear series of carbon atoms occurring in paraffinic hydrocarbons and some alcohols that is isomeric with its straight chain counterpart and has a subordinate chain of one or more carbon atoms. Id. at 247.

In a phone conversation with a member of my staff on November 1, 2006, protestant argued alternatively for classification in heading 2902, HTSUSA. Heading 2902, HTSUSA, provides for cyclic hydrocarbons. Chapter Note 1(a) to Chapter 29, HTSUSA, states:

1.-except where the context otherwise requires, the headings of this chapter apply only to:

Separate chemically defined organic compounds, whether or not containing impurities.

The General EN to Chapter 29, HTSUSA, at (A) Chemically defined compounds (Chapter Note 1), explains in relevant part:

A separate chemically defined compound is a substance which consists of one molecular species (e.g. covalent or ionic) whose composition is defined by a constant ratio of elements and can be represented by a definitive structural diagram…

The merchandise at issue consists of a blend of two carbon chains, varying in length, attached to a single benzene ring. As the lengths of the carbon chains are a mixture whose composition cannot be defined by a constant ratio of elements, the merchandise is excluded from Chapter 29, HTSUSA.

Subheading 3817.00.1000, HTSUSA, eo nomine provides for mixed linear alkylbenzenes without limitation. As the compound is a mixed linear alkylbenzene, it is classified in subheading 3817.00.1000, HTSUSA.

However, we note that the ruling which protestant relies upon for support, New York Ruling (NY) F86280, dated August 9, 2000, holds the opposite as to identical merchandise. As rulings are prospective in their application and NY F86280 was issued prior to the subject protest, NY F86280 must be followed as to this protest. Protestant is entitled to enter and classify its merchandise under subheading 3817.00.1500, HTSUSA, for the protested entries at issue. Merchandise classifiable under that tariff provision is dutiable at the rate of 6.5 percent ad valorem. As a product of Indonesia, it is eligible for GSP.

We are currently in the process of considering of the revocation of NY F86280 in accordance with 19 U.S.C. 1625. Protestant is invited to submit comments in reponse to the notice of proposed revocation during the notice and comment period.


For the protested entries at issue, the heavy di-linear alkylbenzene is classified in heading 3817, HTSUSA. It is provided for in subheading 3817.00.1500, HTSUSA, which provides for “Mixed alkylbenzenes and mixed alkylnaphthalenes, other than those of heading 2707 or 2902: Mixed alkylbenzenes: Other.” As a product of Indonesia, the rate of duty is free.

The protest should be GRANTED. In accordance with the Protest/Petition Processing Handbook, (CIS HB, June 2002, pp 18 and 21), you are to mail this decision, together with the CBP Form 19, to the protestant no later than 60 days from the date of this letter. Any reliquidation of the entries in accordance with the decision must be accomplished prior to mailing of the decision. No later than sixty days from the date of this letter, the Office of International Trade, Regulations and Rulings will make the decision available to CBP personnel, and to the public on the CBP Home Page on the World WideWeb at, by means of the Freedom of Information Act, and by other methods of public distribution.


Myles B. Harmon, Director
Commercial and Trade Facilitation Division