United States International Trade Commision Rulings And Harmonized Tariff Schedule
faqs.org  Rulings By Number  Rulings By Category  Tariff Numbers
faqs.org > Rulings and Tariffs Home > Rulings By Number > 1990 HQ Rulings > HQ 0083581 - HQ 0083674 > HQ 0083582

Previous Ruling Next Ruling

HQ 083582

September 22, 1989

CLA-2 CO:R:C:G 083582 NLP


TARIFF NO.: 3926.90.9050

Mr. J.M. Abrahams
Phil Patterson, Inc.
228 Aquila Court
Omaha, Nebraska 68102

RE: Classification of a Plastic Coated Woven Tarpaulin

Dear Mr. Abrahams:

This is in response to your letter, dated December 19, 1988, on behalf of Seaway Importing Company, requesting a tariff classification for a plastic coated woven tarpaulin under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS). A sample was submitted for examination.


The submitted sample is a tarpaulin made of woven polyethylene strips measuring less than 5 millimeters in width. Strips of plastic measuring not over 5 millimeters in width are considered to be textiles. The fabric has been coated or covered on both sides with a blue plastic material. All four sides are hemmed and have a textile cord reinforcement. Metal grommets are located at intervals around the hem. The merchandise will be imported from various countries in the Far East.


What is the tariff classification, under the HTSUS, of the tarpaulin?


Classification under the HTSUS is governed by the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's). GRI 1 provides that classification is determined in accordance with the terms of the headings and any relevant section or chapter notes.

The classification of a plastic/textile combination is essentially governed by note 1(h) to Section XI and Note 2 to chapter 59.

Note 1(h) to Section XI states:

1. This section ]chapters 50 to 62[ does not cover:

(h) Woven, knitted or crocheted fabrics, felt or nonwovens, impregnated, coated, covered or laminated with plastics, or articles thereof, of chapter 39.

Note 2 to Chapter 59, HTSUS, states that Heading 5903 applies to:

(a) Textile fabrics, impregnated, coated, covered, laminated with plastics, whatever the weight per square meter and whatever the nature of the plastics material (compact or cellular), other than:

(3) Products in which the textile fabric is either completely embedded in plastics or entirely coated or covered on both sides with such material, provided that such coating or covering can be seen with the naked eye with no account being take of any resulting change of color (chapter 39);

Therefore, a plastic/textile combination falls within Chapter 39 when it satisfies two requirements:

1. the textile fabric or nonwoven must be completely embedded or entirely coated or covered on both sides with plastic material and

2. the plastic coating or covering must be visible with the naked eye.

The determination of whether a plastic coating or covering can be seen with the naked eye, is, of necessity, a subjective one and depends on the specific merchandise involved. While a change in color cannot be considered in determining if a plastic layer can be seen, obviously it is easier to see plastics if color has been added. In this instance, we have closely examined the submitted sample under good light and conclude that the woven base fabric is covered on both sides with a visible plastic material. Accordingly, chapter 59 Note 2 (a)(3), HTSUS, is applicable and the merchandise at issue is classifiable as plastics under chapter 39 for purposes of the HTSUS.


Subheading 3921 provides for other plates, sheets, film, foil and strip, of plastics. Note 10 to chapter 39 states that the expression "plates, sheets, film, foil and strip" applies only to plates, sheets, film, foil and strip and to blocks of regular geometric shape, whether or not printed or otherwise surface-worked, uncut or cut into rectangles (including squares) but not further worked (even if when so cut they become articles ready for use). (Emphasis added) Since the sheet material has been hemmed on four sides and has added reinforcements and metal grommets, it is not classifiable in subheading 3921.

In the absence of a more specific provision, the tarpaulin would be classifiable in subheading 3926.90.9050, which provides for other articles of plastics, other, other, and is dutiable at the rate of 5.3 percent ad valorem.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

Previous Ruling Next Ruling