Ms. Trina A. Pittman
Univar Solutions USA Inc.
3075 Highland Parkway
Downers Grove, IL 60515
RE: The classification, country of origin and marking of blended sweeteners
Dear Ms. Pittman:
In your letter dated November 18, 2022, you requested a tariff classification, country of origin and marking ruling.
An ingredients breakdown, description of the manufacturing process, and technical specification sheets for two products accompanied your letter.
The subject merchandise is described as blended sweeteners intended for use as a sweetener in food or beverage manufacturing. The first item, "BED0123- Sweetener Blend Natural," is said to contain a blend of erythritol from the United States (U.S.) and stevia from China. The second item, "BED0094- Sweetener Blend Performance" is said to contain a blend of sucralose and acesulfame-k, both sourced from China. The products are said to be prepared in Brazil by first weighing the individual ingredients, then batch production via a dry blender that is designed to uniformly blend dry food ingredients. The blended sweeteners will be imported in 25 kg. polyethylene bags for sale to food manufactures in the U.S.
The applicable subheading for the blended sweeteners will be 2106.90.9998, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), which provides for food preparations not elsewhere specified or included ... other ... other ... other. The general rate of duty will be 6.4 percent ad valorem.
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 the World Wide Web at https://hts.usitc.gov/current.
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN AND MARKING:
The marking statute, 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 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.
As defined in 19 CFR 134.1(b), "country 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 this part; however, for a good of a NAFTA or USMCA country, the marking rules set forth in part 102 of this chapter will determine the country of origin." A substantial transformation occurs when an article emerges from a process with a new name, character or use different from that possessed by the article prior to processing. A substantial transformation will not result from a minor manufacturing or combining process that leaves the identity of the article intact. See United States v. Gibson-Thomsen Co., 27 C.C.P.A. 267 (1940); and National Juice Products Association v. United States, 628 F. Supp. 978 (Ct. Int'l Trade 1986).
In your request, you reference the tariff shift requirement in section 102.20 for the
blended sweeteners of subheading 2106.90, HTSUS, and have suggested that the country of origin for the products is Brazil and should be marked to reference said country accordingly. The rules set forth in 102.1 through 102.18 and 102.20 determine the country of origin for marking purposes of imported goods under the USMCA. Since the presented scenarios do not involve the goods from Canada and Mexico, section 102.20 is inapplicable.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection has consistently held that mixing is a simple operation that only substantially transforms something if the ingredients mixed create a commodity that is different in name, character and use from the original ingredients. For example, in HQ H234949, dated April 19, 2013, CBP determined that blended syrup which consisted of cane sugar of Brazil and corn syrup of U.S.-origin did not undergo a substantial transformation by mixing. CBP held that the mixture of two types of sugar still functioned the same as one type of sugar in the food to which it is added. In HQ 088799, dated November 20, 1991, CBP held that cocoa powder from the U.S. and foreign sugar were not substantially transformed by blending together in Canada. In NY N30746, dated December 3, 2019, CBP ruled that olive oils from Tunisia and Spain were not substantially transformed as a result of the blending and refining process in Spain. The Court of International Trade has also held that the blending of imported orange juice concentrate with domestic concentrate did not result in a substantial transformation. National Juice Products v. United States, 628 F. Supp. 978 (1986).
In the instant case, the blended sweeteners are said to be prepared in Brazil by first weighing the individual ingredients of U.S. and Chinese origin, drying and blending the ingredients via a dry blender, and packing the sweetener blends in 25 kg. polyethylene bags. It is our opinion that the blended sweeteners that are prepared in Brazil from ingredients sourced in the U.S. and China have not been substantially transformed and thereby do not qualify as a product of Brazil. The blended sweeteners would not be considered a new and different article of commerce with a name, character, and use distinct from that of the article or articles from which it was so transformed. In essence, the individual components are imported into Brazil as sweeteners and are exported as blended sweeteners. Accordingly, they will remain a product of the countries where the ingredients originated.
The imported merchandise is a blend of sweeteners which are not substantially transformed in
Brazil, as discussed above, and, therefore, remain the product of the country from where each originated. Accordingly, for the product, "BED0123- Sweetener Blend Natural," a marking such as "Product of the U.S. and China" would be acceptable. For the product, "BED0094- Sweetener Blend Performance," a marking such as "Product of China" would be acceptable.
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.
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 Timothy Petrulonis at [email protected].
Steven A. Mack
National Commodity Specialist Division