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United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
September 16, 2013, Decided
[*1353] Taranto, Circuit Judge.
Del Monte Corporation imports tuna products consisting of cooked tuna, together with sauce, in a package. U.S. Customs and Border Protection classified two of those products under subheading 1604.14.10 of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States, which covers tuna packed "in oil," [**2] because their sauces include some oil. In addition, Customs appraised the goods based on the price that Del Monte paid its supplier at the time of importation, without adjusting for approximately $1.5 million that Del Monte later received from its supplier after negotiations over the accuracy of the amount originally paid. Del Monte brought suit in the Court of International Trade contesting those two agency determinations. The trade court held that Del Monte's goods were properly classified and valued. We affirm.
The imported merchandise at issue consists of tuna fillets or strips in a sauce, packed in a sealed microwaveable pouch. There are three varieties: Teriyaki, Albacore Lemon & Cracked Pepper, and Yellowfin Lightly Seasoned. In all three, the tuna is not cooked or prepared in oil and is processed separately from the sauce, which is added after the tuna is placed into the pouch. The tuna accounts for 80 percent of the total product weight, and the sauce accounts for the remaining 20 percent. In the Lemon Pepper and Lightly Seasoned products, the sauce contains some sunflower oil (2.48 percent and 0.62 percent of the total weight of the pouch's contents, or 12.4 percent [**3] and 3.1 percent of the sauce weight, respectively).
In late 2004, Del Monte requested a ruling on the proper classification of its goods under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule. Customs issued a letter in March 2005 finding that those Del Monte products with oil in their sauces should be classified as "in oil" under subheading 1604.14.10. Del Monte requested reconsideration—arguing that the goods should [*1354] instead be classified as "not in oil"—but the agency again found that subheading 1604.14.10 was the correct classification.
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730 F.3d 1352 *; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 19072 **; 35 Int'l Trade Rep. (BNA) 1935; 2013 WL 5065697
DEL MONTE CORPORATION, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. UNITED STATES, Defendant-Appellee.
Prior History: [**1] Appeal from the United States Court of International Trade in No. 07-CV-0109, Senior Judge Thomas J. Aquilino, Jr.
Del Monte Corp. v. United States, 885 F. Supp. 2d 1315, 2012 Ct. Intl. Trade LEXIS 132 (2012)
oil, packed, tuna, subheading, products, importation, sauce, formula, merchandise, percent, fish, tariff schedule, classification, classified, provisions, proper classification, invoiced, cooked, liquid, tariff, costs, pouch
Business & Corporate Compliance, Exports & Imports, Merchandise Classification, Harmonized Tariff Schedule, Civil Procedure, Appeals, Standards of Review, Questions of Fact & Law, Rule Application & Interpretation, Valuation, Transaction Value, International Trade Law, General Overview