Ms. Susan Strager
Arthur Andersen LLP
500 Woodward Avenue, Suite 2700
Detroit, MI 48226-3424
RE: The tariff classification of frozen tuna from the Philippines.
Dear Ms. Strager:
In your letter, dated June 12, 1998, you have requested a tariff
classification ruling on behalf of your client, Philtuna Packing Corporation,
The merchandise is comprised of frozen, precooked tuna loins that have not
been packed in airtight containers. The tuna will be harvested offshore of the
Philippines, in the Indian Ocean, and in the western Pacific Ocean. The tuna
will be processed in the Philippines where it will be precooked, skinned,
cleaned, bagged, and vacuum packed to avoid contamination. Neither oil, nor
seasoning will be added. The tuna loins will be frozen in plastic bags and
imported in bulk containers weighing over 6.8 kilograms. There will be four
bags per container.
During the manufacturing process, the tuna loins are thawed and tested for
putrid odor and unacceptable levels of histamines and salt. Then they are
precooked until the muscle portion is denatured and can be separated from the
bone. Upon cooling, the head, tails, fins, entrails, and skin are excised.
Then the fish undergoes the process of loining: the meat is separated from the
bone, and light meat is separated from dark meat.
Upon importation, the plastic bags will not be airtight, but rather, closed
in one of two ways. Either the open edge of the bag will be folded and clasped
by a metal clip that does not extend across the width of the bag, or the bag
will be perforated by several one inch slits. In either instance, the plastic
bag will not be hermetically sealed at the time of importation.
The applicable subheading for the tuna loins will be 1604.14.4000,
Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTS), which provides for
prepared or preserved fish; caviar and caviar substitutes prepared from fish
eggs, fish, whole or in pieces, but not minced, tunas, skipjack and bonito
(Sarda spp.), tunas and skipjack, not in airtight containers, in bulk or in
immediate containers weighing with their contents over 6.8 kilograms each, not
in oil. The rate of duty will be 1.1 cents per kilogram.
This ruling is being issued under the provisions of Part 177 of the Customs
Regulations (19 CFR 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 Ralph Conte at (212) 466-5759.
Robert B. Swierupski