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NY R02224
July 26, 2005
CLA-2-20: RR: NC: SP: 231 R02224
CATEGORY: Classification
TARIFF NO.: 2008.19.3020
Mr. Cody Steele Oasis Merchants, LLC.

P.O. Box 30831 Budaiya Kingdom of Bahrain
RE:     The tariff classification of Iranian pistachios nuts processed in the Kingdom of Bahrain.

Dear Mr. Steele:

     In your letter dated July 05, 2005 you requested a tariff classification ruling.

     The merchandise consists of raw in-shell pistachios from Iran that will be exported to the Kingdom of Bahrain for processing. In Bahrain the pistachio nuts will be roasted and salted or roasted and flavored with either garlic, hickory, chili lemon, jalapeņo, Cajun, barbeque, honey mustard, cinnamon, maple, or cheese flavorings. After processing, the nuts will then be packaged in bulk in 50 kg jute bags and in 10 kg cartons with inner poly bags.

     The applicable subheading for roasted and salted and roasted and flavored pistachios with either garlic, hickory, chili lemon, jalapeņo, Cajun, barbeque, honey mustard, cinnamon, maple, or cheese flavorings will be 2008.19.3020, HTS, which provides for fruit, nuts and other edible parts of plants, otherwise prepared or preserved, whether or not containing added sugar or other sweetening matter or spirit, not elsewhere specified or included, nuts, peanuts (ground-nuts) and other seeds, whether or not mixed together, other, including mixtures, pignolia and pistachios, pistachios. The rate of duty will be 1 cent per kilogram.

     In your letter, you ask if processing by roasting and salting or by roasting and flavoring would be sufficient to change the country of origin, under the terms of a pending free trade agreement (FTA) between the United States and the Kingdom of Bahrain. Your letter appears to imply that this agreement may include specific rules of origin (e.g., a tariff shift) as an alternative to the current requirement that a substantial transformation occur in the country where the goods are further processed. As this free trade agreement is not yet in force, or incorporated into the U.S. Harmonized Tariff, we are reluctant to issue a ruling on issues affecting either eligibility or origin under its provisions. It is noted, however, that an earlier Treasury Decision (T.D. 85-158 of December 18, 1985) held that roasting and salting or blending (or any combination of these processes) of pistachio nuts did not constitute a substantial transformation of the raw pistachios into a new or different article of commerce. We would suggest that you resubmit your request for a marking ruling, after the FTA has been enacted or, if you are simply asking for a ruling on origin based on whether the processing described constitutes a "substantial transformation" of these pistachios, that you resubmit your request, including a more detailed description of the processes performed in Bahrain, along with samples of each type of flavored pistachio you wish to have considered. Finally, imports of nuts are subject to inspection and regulation, principally, by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service/Plant Protection and Quarantine (APHIS/PPQ) and to regulations administered by the Food and Drug Administration. For APHIS requirements, please consult your local USDA office or their website at http://www.aphis.usda.gov. You may contact the FDA at the following address:

Food and Drug Administration Division of Import Operations and Policy 5600 Fishers Lane Rockville, MD 20857      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 telephone number (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 Thomas Brady at 646-733-3030.

                              Sincerely,
                              Robert B. Swierupski                               Director,                               National Commodity                               Specialist Division