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HQ 084966

SEPTEMBER 20, 1989

CLA-2 CO:R:C:G 084966 PR


TARIFF NO.: 3926.90.9050; 3921.90.1500

Mr. Ralph Natale
American Shipping Company
P.O. Box 1486
Englewood Cliffs, N.J. 07632

RE: Tariff Status of Certain Coated Fabric and Articles Made From That Fabric

Dear Mr. Natale:

This ruling is in response to your undated letter addressed to our New York office.


The submitted sample is a swatch of woven fabric of clear plastic textile strips, that has been coated or covered with transparent compact plastics material on both surfaces. This material will be imported in sheet form and "in sheet form with hems grommets and reinforced edges." Based on the description of the merchandise to be imported, and the appearance of the sample, we assume that the material is not over 70 percent by weight of plastics and weighs less than 1.492 kilograms per square meter and that tarpaulins or similar articles will be imported. The country of origin of the merchandise was not stated.


The issue presented is whether the transparent coating is visible to the naked eye. If it is, the merchandise is considered to be made from a plastics material and is classifiable in Chapter 39, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA). If not, the merchandise is textile and classifiable in Chapter 63, HTSUSA.


Heading 5903, HTSUSA, provides for textile fabrics impregnated, coated, covered, or laminated with plastics. Note 2 to Chapter 59, HTSUSA, states that Heading 5903 applies to:

(a) Textile fabrics, impregnated, coated, covered or laminated with plastics, whatever the weight per square meter and whatever the nature of the plastic 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 taken of any resulting change of color (chapter 39);

The determination of whether a plastics coating, covering, or lamination 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 plastics layer can be seen, obviously, it is easier to see plastics if color has been added. Transparent plastics coatings and coverings, such as are present on the instant sample, give rise to difficult problems because they are more difficult to see and usually require a greater amount of plastics in order to be seen with the naked eye than do colored coatings or coverings.

In this instance, we have closely examined the submitted swatch under good light and conclude that the transparent plastics on both sides of the sample can be seen. Accordingly, Chapter 59 Note 2(a)(3), HTSUSA, is applicable and material, as represented by that swatch, is classifiable as plastics for purposes of the HTSUSA.


The subject merchandise, when imported in material lengths, is classifiable under the provision for other noncellular plastic sheets or film, combined with textile materials and weighing not over 1.492 kilograms per square meter, not over 70 percent by weight of plastics, in Subheading 3921.90.1500, HTSUSA. The applicable textile category is 229. Since we do not know the country of origin, we cannot determine the duty rate.

Without samples of the products to be made from the instant plastic coated textile material, we are unable to determine with certainty the tariff status of that merchandise. However, it appears likely that tarpaulins and similar articles made of the sample material would be classifiable under the provision for other articles of plastics, in Subheading 3926.90.9050, HTSUSA.

Due to the changeable nature of the statistical annotation (the ninth and tenth digits of the classification) and the restraint (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.

The designated textile and apparel category may be subdivided into parts. If so, visa and quota requirements applicable to the subject merchandise may be affected. Since part categories are the result of international bilateral agreements which are subject to frequent renegotiations and changes, to obtain the most current information available, we suggest that you check, close to the time of shipment, the Status Report On Current Import Quotas (Restraint Levels), an internal issuance of the U.S. Customs Service, which is available for inspection at your local Customs office.


John Durant, Director

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