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HQ 084938

AUGUST 22, 1989

CLA-2 CO:R:C:G 084938 PR


TARIFF NO.: 3920.99.2000

Mr. Frank Brennan
Mudge Rose Guthrie Alexander & Ferdon
2121 K Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20037

RE: Tariff Status of Split Plastic Film

Dear Mr. Brennan:

This ruling is in response to your letter of April 27, 1989, on behalf of Fabrimetrics, Inc., concerning certain split plastic film manufactured in Korea.


According to the importer's representative: Polyvinyl alcohol plastics material is heated and extruded into a transparent film which is then mechanically slit into a network of interconnected fibrils (fibrillation). The film is folded over on itself to create a diamond-like woven fabric appearance, and glued in place. It is typically imported in rolls two and three meters wide by one hundred meters long and used for agricultural purposes as coverings for vegetables and strawberries to protect them from frost and other hazards. Occasionally it is coated after gluing for use in severe frost conditions and sometimes it is silver covered "to reduce the temperature and retard the growing process."

Note that this ruling only concerns the uncoated material, a sample of which was submitted. In addition, our experience is that polyvinyl alcohol plastics is not normally used outdoors where it is subject to contact with water. However, the use of the subject merchandise does not affect its classification.


The issues presented are (1) Whether the subject merchandise is classifiable as a textile fabric or as plastics; (2) If classifiable as plastics, is it classifiable as a sheet or is it considered to be further worked and, therefore, excluded from being classified as a sheet; and (3) If classifiable as plastics, does it qualify as an agricultural implement for tariff purposes?


In the condition as imported, the merchandise is not considered to be a textile material. Rolls of plastic, two or more meters wide and one hundred meters long, completely made of a single plastics unit, with no individual fibers, filaments, or strips contributing to its existence, are not textile materials even though they may have a textile appearance. Therefore, the merchandise must be classifiable as a plastics material.

Heading 3920, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA), provides for plastic sheets and film, noncellular and not reinforced, laminated, supported, or similarly combined with other materials. Heading 3921, HTSUSA, provides for all other plastic sheets and film. These two headings would appear to cover the instant merchandise, except that Note 10 to Chapter 39, HTSUSA, where those headings are located, provides:

In headings 3920 and 3921, the expression "plates, sheets, film, foil and strip" applies only to plates, sheets, film, foil and strip (other than those of chapter 54) * * * 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).

The Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System, Explanatory Notes, which are the official interpretation of the HTSUSA at the international level (the 4 and 6 digit headings), state that "plates, sheets, etc., with ground edges, drilled, milled, hemmed twisted, framed or otherwise worked or cut into shapes other than rectangular" are classifiable as articles, in Headings 3918, 3919, and 3922 to 3926, HTSUSA. (at page 572)

It has been suggested that the slitting of the original extruded sheet is a further working within the purview of Note 10 and, therefore, the merchandise is excluded from classifi- cation under Headings 3920 and 3921. However, our view is that the mechanical fibrillation (slitting), folding, and gluing are further processes in the manufacture of the final product, which is itself a plastic sheet. Processing which results in a sheet should not cause that product to be prohibited from classifi- cation as a sheet.

As noted above, Heading 3920 covers noncellular plastic sheets and film, not reinforced, laminated, supported, or similarly combined "with other materials." The folding over of the material on itself and gluing in place does not preclude classification of this material under Heading 3920. It is not a combining "with other materials." Accordingly, the merchandise is described by Heading 3920, HTSUSA.

Heading 9817.00.5000, HTSUSA, provides duty-free treatment for machinery, equipment, and implements to be used for agricultural purposes. Since the merchandise will be imported in the form of material on rolls, it is not one of the named types of articles which are classifiable in Heading 9817.00.5000.


The subject merchandise is classifiable under the provision for other noncellular plastic sheets and film, in Subheading 3920.99.2000, HTSUSA, with duty, as a product of Korea, at the 1989 rate of 4.2 percent ad valorem.


John Durant, Director

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