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HQ 084721

AUGUST 24, 1989

CLA-2 CO:R:C:G 084721 PR


TARIFF NO.: 7019.20.5000

Ms. Liz Wagner
3G Mermet Corporation
3963 Virginia Avenue
Cincinnati, Ohio 45227

RE: Tariff Status of Glass Fiber Woven Fabric

Dear Ms. Wagner:

This ruling is in response to your letter of April 20, 1989, concerning the tariff status of certain fiberglass woven fabrics.


Eight samples were submitted. Each is a woven swatch of fabric which is composed of 73 percent plastics and 27 percent glass fibers (by both weight and value). Five samples are woven with basket weave. The other three samples are made with a more complex weave which gives them a twill-like appearance. They are manufactured by coating a core of filament glass fibers with polyvinyl chloride (PVC), weaving, and then heat setting the fabric. The PVC coating which sheathes the glass fiber yarns is colored. The fabrics are called Thermoscreen material. It is stated that the glass fibers supply the essential characteristics of flame retardant ability, strength, durability, and resistance to heat, bacteria, and rot. The fabrics will be imported in 98.4 inch widths.


The issue presented is whether the Thermoscreen material is classifiable as a plastic article in Chapter 39, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA), or as an article of glass fibers, in Chapter 70, HTSUSA.


Merchandise is classifiable in the HTSUSA according to the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's), in the order in which they appear. The first rule (GRI 1) is that the terms of the headings and any relevant section or chapter notes govern classification. GRI 2 is concerned with incomplete or unfinished articles and with mixtures or combinations of materials. In the latter instance, GRI 2(b) states that any reference to goods of a given material or substance shall be taken to include goods consisting wholly or partly of that material or substance. GRI 3(a) provides that where two or more headings are, prima facie, applicable, the most specific will apply, unless two or more headings each refer to materials or substances in mixed or composite goods. In that instance, GRI 3(b) requires that classification shall be according to that material or substance which imparts the essential character to the merchandise. If no essential character is determined, GRI 3(c) provides that the goods be classified in the heading which appears last in numerical order, among those being considered.

Here, the merchandise is composite goods made of two materials--glass fibers and plastics. Under the HTSUSA, unlike under its predecessor, the Tariff Schedules of the United States Annotated (TSUSA), glass fibers in yarn form are not classifiable as textile materials. Since there is no provision which specifically describes this merchandise, the two competing headings are provisions which call for the articles to be either "of plastics" or "of glass fibers." Accordingly, the merchandise must be classified pursuant to GRI's 3(b) or 3(c).

Since the glass fibers contribute most of the attributes necessary for the intended utilization of the goods, it is our view that the plastics portion does not impart the essential character to those goods. Accordingly, it is unnecessary to determine whether the glass fibers impart the essential character--even if the glass fibers were determined to be coequal with the PVC for purposes of GRI 3(b), GRI 3(c) requires classification of the merchandise as a fabric of glass fibers.


The subject merchandise is classifiable under the provision for colored fabrics of glass fibers, in Subheading 7019.20.5000, HTSUSA, with duty, as a product of France, at the 1989 rate of 11.1 percent ad valorem.


John Durant, Director

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