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HQ 083525

October 26, 1989

CLA-2 CO:R:C:G 083525 HP


TARIFF NO.: 4008.11.5000; 4008.21.0000; 9802.00.80

Mr. Bruce E. Benedict
John V. Carr & Son, Inc.
P.O. Box 33479
Detroit, MI 48232-5479

RE: Classification of polyisobutylene roofing material

Dear Mr. Benedict:

This is in reply to your letter of December 12, 1988, concerning the tariff classification of polyisobutylene roofing material, produced in Canada from Canadian and U.S. materials, under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States An notated (HTSUSA). Please reference your client Trent Rubber Services Limited.


The merchandise at issue consists of a needleloom felt of 100 percent polyester fiber construction, produced in the United States, and that, in Canada, has been laminated to a compact polyisobutylene ("PIB") synthetic rubber material, approximately 120 mil, to form roofing material. We assume that the PIB material is not "hard rubber," as defined in the Explanatory Note to Chapter
40, HTSUSA. The laminated fabric weighs approximately 81 ounces per square yard (over 1.492 kg/m2), with the rubber portion clearly comprising over 50 percent by weight of the fabric. The felt is formed by a web laying device and mechanically intertwined with special needles. The types of machinery used in making the felt are a random air web layer device and a needle loom.


Whether the fabric is considered an article of American components under HTSUSA?

Heading 5602, HTSUSA, provides for, inter alia, laminated needleloom felt. The General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's) to the
HTSUSA govern the classification of goods in the tariff schedule. GRI 1 states, in pertinent part:

... classification shall be determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes ....

Goods which cannot be classified in accordance with GRI 1 are to be classified in accordance with subsequent GRI's, taken in order .

Note 3 to Chapter 56, HTSUSA, states that heading 5602 does not cover:

(a) Felt impregnated, coated, covered or laminated with ... rubber, containing 50 percent or less by weight of textile material or felt completely embedded in
... rubber (chapter ... 40).

The Explanatory Notes to the HTSUSA constitute the official interpretation of the tariff at the international level. The Explanatory Note to heading 5602 states that this heading " includes roofing felt made by the normal felting process and subsequently impregnated with tar or similar substances." The Explanatory Note does specifically state, however, that "the heading does not cover
[articles referred to in Note 3, supra.]" The roofing materials, therefore, cannot be classified in heading 5602, HTSUSA.

Chapter 40, HTSUSA, provides for rubber and articles thereof .
The General Explanatory Notes provides:

Rubber and textile combinations

The classification of rubber and textile combinations is essentially governed by ... Note
3 to Chapter 56 .... The following products are covered by this Chapter:

(a) Felt impregnated, coated, covered or laminated with rubber, containing 50% or less by weight of textile material, and felt completely embedded in rubber;

Heading 4008, HTSUSA, provides for, inter alia, sheets of vulcanized rubber, other than hard rubber. The Explanatory Note to this heading states that included herein are:

(B) Felt impregnated, coated, covered or laminated with vulcanised rubber (other than hard rubber) containing 50% or less by weight of textile material or completely embedded in rubber.

The PIB roofing material is therefore classifiable, either under subheading 4008.11.5000, 6.6 percent ad valorem, if of cellular rubber, or under subheading 4008.21.0000, HTSUSA, 3.4 percent ad valorem, if of noncellular rubber, as plates, sheets, strip, rods and profile shapes, of vulcanized rubber other than hard rubber, plates, sheets and strip.

Subheading 9802.00.80, HTSUSA, provides a partial duty exemption for:

Articles assembled abroad in whole or in part of fabricated components, the product of the United States, which (a) were exported in condition ready for assembly without further fabrication, (b) have not lost their physical identity in such articles by change in form, shape or otherwise, and (c) have not been advanced in value or improved in condition abroad except by being assembled and except by operations incidental to the assembly process such as cleaning, lubricating and painting. [Merchandise covered by this subheading was previously covered by heading 807.00, Tariff Schedule of the United States

All three requirements of HTSUSA subheading 9802.00.80 must be satisfied before a component may receive a duty allowance. An article entered under HTSUSA subheading 9802.00.80 is subject to a duty upon the full value of the imported article, less the cost or value of the U.S. components assembled therein, provided there has been compliance with the documentary requirements of section 10.24, Customs Regulations (19 CFR 10.24).

It is our opinion that the Canadian operation constitutes a simple assembly of solids. See HRL 555361 of August 3, 1989 (citing C.J. Tower & Sons of Buffalo, Inc. v. United States, 304 F.
Supp. 1187, 62 Cust. Ct. 643, C.D. 3840 (1969). The instant merchandise is therefore eligible for partial duty exemption under
HTSUSA subheading 9802.00.80, HTSUSA, when returned to the U.S., upon compliance with the documentary requirements set forth in section 10.24 of the Customs Regulations.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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