The U.S. Court of International Trade today denied cross motions for summary judgment in a case concerning the proper tariff classification of gum base used in manufacturing chewing gum.
The case is: Mondelez Global LLC v. United States, Slip Op. 17-92 (CIT July 25, 2017). Read the trade court’s opinion.
The U.S. government asserted that the imported gum base was a “food preparation” under heading 2106 of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS) because chewing gum is a “food,” a “preparation” is a substance specially prepared for a particular application, and gum base is used exclusively for manufacturing chewing gum (itself, a food).
The importer countered that heading 2106 covers only products that are themselves “consumed in food”—not simply used in food, and that gum base is not “consumed in food.” Instead, the importer asserted the claimed classification would be under heading 3824 (which covers chemical products and preparations of chemicals).
The trade court explained that a product is not classifiable under heading 2106 merely because it is specially prepared for use in food; instead, the preparation must itself be food. In rejecting this assertion of the government, the court turned to consider whether gum base had any nutritive value, and stated that while the importer had submitted evidence that gum base’s nutritive ingredients are not released from the gum base during the chewing of chewing gum, summary judgment was not appropriate on this issue at this time.
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