Ms. Margarita Siervo
15500 S.W. 82nd Avenue
Miami, FL 33157-2217
RE: The tariff classification of fish roe from Italy.
Dear Ms. Siervo:
In your letter, dated September 25, 2000, you requested a classification ruling.
The merchandise is comprised of “Ittico Sarda” brand fish roe (“Bottarga di Muggine”). During the manufacturing process, fish eggs in their natural sac go through a complete washing with water. The starting quantity of fish eggs is 10 kilograms. The washed fish eggs are laid down and salted with fine sea salt (1.5 kilograms). The fish roe is permitted to remain covered with sea salt for 3 hours, and then it is washed again (wherein the salt is removed). Then it is placed in a ventilated room for one week, during which the fish roe is turned every 12 hours (to ensure complete drying). The resulting fish roe has an average weight of 7 kilograms with a 30 percent weight loss from the initial product. The sodium amount is 5.8 percent. The product does not contain preservatives, colorants, or other added ingredients. The fish roe is packaged in glass jars with metal caps (the net weight is 80 grams) and vacuum packed bags.
Heading 16.04, note 6, Explanatory Notes, describes articles that are classifiable as caviar substitutes in 1604.30, HTS. Note 6 defines caviar substitutes thus: “These are products consumed as caviar but prepared from the eggs of fish other than sturgeon (e.g., salmon, carp, pike, tuna, mullet, cod, lumpfish), which have been washed, cleaned of adherent organs, salted and sometimes pressed or dried. Such fish eggs may also be seasoned and colored.” The fish roe, packed in vacuum bags and glass jars, is described by note 6, and therefore, is classifiable as a caviar substitute.
Accordingly, the applicable subheading for fish roe will be 1604.30.4000, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTS), which provides for prepared or preserved fish; caviar and caviar substitutes prepared from fish eggs, caviar and caviar substitutes, caviar substitutes, other. The rate of duty will be free.
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 Thomas Brady at 212-637-7064.
Robert B. Swierupski