In ruling N326448 (June 23, 2022), Customs and Border Protection (CBP) discussed the tariff classification and country of origin of frozen scallops. Per the ruling, Japanese Scallops (Patinopecten yessoensis) are harvested in Japan and then exported frozen, whole, in shell to China. Once in China, they are thawed, shucked, and soaked in a water solution containing sodium tripolyphosphate, and are individually quick frozen (IQF). The product is then sorted by count, placed in five-pound retail bags, packed for bags per carton, and shipped frozen to the U.S. The merchandise is then sold to food service providers and retail stores.
CBP first determined that the tariff classification of the frozen scallops would be 0307.22.0000, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), which provides for: “Molluscs, whether in shell or not, live, fresh, chilled, frozen, dried, salted or in brine…: Scallops and other molluscs of the family Pectinidae: Frozen.” The rate of duty is free.
For the country of origin ruling, CBP established marking rules and the meaning of country of origin. CBP noted that the marking statute 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 to an ultimate purchaser in the U.S. the English name of the country of origin of the article.” CBP also noted that, as defined under 19 CFR 134.41(b), the country of origin marking is considered conspicuous if the ultimate purchaser in the U.S. is able to find the marking easily and read it without strain. In addition, per 19 CFR 134.1(b), CBP defined the country of origin as 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.’ ” 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.”
For its determination, CBP noted that the scallops are not substantially transformed due to the processing that takes place in China. As such, the country of origin and marking of the frozen scallops would be Japan.