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HQ 082775

March 5, 1990

CLA-2 CO:R:C:G 082775 HP


TARIFF NO.: 5607.29.0000

Mr. Jack Golla
Import Manager
Action Industries
Allegheny Industrial Park
Cheswick, PA 15024

RE: Classification of sisal twine.

Dear Mr. Golla:

This is in reply to your letter of March 23, 1988, concerning the tariff classification of sisal twine, produced in Portugal, under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated


The merchandise at issue consists of a sisal twine ball wrapped in cellophane for retail sale. The twine, labeled "Item No. 2301 Sisal Twine," is 1-ply, 300 feet in length, with 9 percent emulsifier.


Whether the merchandise is considered binder and baler twine under HTSUSA?


Subheading 5607.21.00, HTSUSA, provides for twine, cordage, ropes and cables, whether or not plaited, braided, or coated, of sisal or other textile fibers of the genus Agave, used as binder or baler twine. Subheading 5607.29.00, HTSUSA, provides for similar articles, other uses. We must therefore define "binder or baler twine" for classification purposes. The Explanatory Notes to the HTSUSA constitute the official interpretation of the tariff at the international level. The Explanatory Note to subheading 5607.21, HTSUSA, defines the parameters for binder or baler twine as:

... cover[ing] single twine of sisal [which the merchandise is] or other textile fibres of the genus Agave having a "Z" twist [which the merchandise has] and a minimum twine breaking force calculated by means of the following formula:

R = 32,400 - 18n

(R being the twine breaking force in deca newtons (daN) and n being the runnage of twine in metres per kg.)

You state that the runnage of twine (n) is 500 m/kg. Applying the above formula, we find that the minimum twine breaking force (R) allowable equals 16.80 daN. You further state that the breaking force of the instant merchandise exceeds this measure. The twine therefore meets the Explanatory Note requirements for classification as binder or baler twine under subheading 5607.21, HTSUSA.

Subheading 5607.21, HTSUSA, however, is a use provision; used for binding, baling, or otherwise. Consequently, the heading under which the subject merchandise will be classified will be controlled by the use in the United States at, or immediately prior to, the date of importation of goods of the class or kind to which the subject merchandise belongs. The controlling use is the principal use -- the use which exceeds any other use. Additional U.S. Rule of Interpretation 1(a), HTSUSA. The actual use of certain ship ments of merchandise will not dictate a classification controlled by principal use.

In Frank W. Winne & Sons v. United States, C.D. 4505, 72 Customs Court 62 (1974), the United States Customs Court, per Judge
Maletz, entertained the question of classifying twine as "binding or otherwise. Types of twine have varying qualities and charac teristics, as the Court noted below:

Binder twine is a one-ply twine made of hard henequen or sisal fiber which is oiled and treated with insect repellant to resist rot, rodents and insects. It is manufactured to a length of 500 or more feet to the pound and is put up in either 8-pound tubes, 6 tubes to the bale, or in 5-pound balls, 10 balls to the bale. Twine of this type is chiefly used on the farm for binding or tying grains and is distributed through farm machinery and equipment dealers, farm and feed dealers, and farm cooperatives. Because it is oiled and treated with insect and rodent repellents, it cannot be used as wrapping or tying twine.
Baler twine is made of a one-ply material and ranges between 200 to 257 feet per pound; it is oiled and treated with insect repellent to resist rot, rodents and insects. Such twine is manufactured in 20-pound balls, with two balls to the bale; it is much thicker, heavier and stronger than binder twine; and is chiefly used on the farm in hay balers to tie and bind bales of hay, straw and fodder crops. As in the case of binder twine, baler twine is distributed through farm machinery and equipment dealers, farm and feed dealers, and farm cooperatives. Also like binder twine, it cannot be used as wrapping or tying because of its oiled and repellant- treated condition.

Wrapping twine and tying twine are one and the same and are sometimes referred to as sisal twine. Twine of this type consists of a piece of string manufactured from fiber. It is stainless; i.e., unoiled, and is made in various put-ups, such as 10- or 20-pound balls or 50- pound reels or tubes, also in different size bales according to customer specifications. It is white in color (although different colors may be specially ordered); it is treated with a softening material; and comes in one, two or three plies in lengths of 200 and 300 or 400 feet. Wrapping or tying twine is not sold in the same channels of distribuion as binder or baler twine; and is not used for agricultural purposes but rather is chiefly used for such industrial purposes as wrapping or tying of packages; bundles, newspapers, etc.

. . . [T]he term "binding twine] is rarely used in the United States; that in the trade, agricultural twines are specifically referred to as either binder twine or baler twine, while wrapping or tying twines are referred to as such and also as sisal twines, ... and that binder twine is not commercially interchangeable with wrapping or tying twines.

Id. at 64. See also T.D. 56199(21), Cordage, of textile materials. Twine, binder (holding that binder twine, meeting all specifica tions for binder twine but for chief use, classifiable not as binder twine, but as cordage).

Although the aforementioned cases were decided under the Tariff Schedules of the United States (TSUS), the rationale is applicable to the Harmonized Tariff Schedule in place today. In particular, we note that under TSUS, binder and baler twines, for agricultural use, were granted duty-free entry; non-agricultural twines were not. The same is true today. Compare subheading 5607.21.0000, HTSUSA (duty-free) with subheadings 5607.29.0000 (7.2%) and 5609.00, HTSUSA (4.4% - 9%).

It is clear that Congress never intended to provide for duty- free entry for any twines other than agricultural twines. Accord ingly, since the instant merchandise does not belong to a class or kind of twine which is principally used in agricultural pursuits or harvesting, it is not properly classifiable as binder or baler twine.

As a result of the foregoing, the instant merchandise is classifiable under subheading 5607.29.0000, HTSUSA, as twine, cordage, ropes and cables, whether or not plaited or braided and whether or not impregnated, coated, covered or sheathed with rubber or plastics, of sisal or other textile fibers of the genus Agave, other. The applicable rate of duty is 7.2 percent ad valorem.

Due to the changeable nature of the statistical annotation (the ninth and tenth digits of the classification) and the res traint (quota/visa) categories, you should contact your local Customs office prior to importing the merchandise to determine the current applicability of any import restraints or requirements.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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