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 0085015 - HQ 0085092 > HQ 0085073

Previous Ruling Next Ruling

HQ 085073

March 8, 1990

CLA-2:CO:R:C:G 085073 SR


TARIFF NO.: 5903.20.10

Mr. Joel K. Simon
Serko & Simon
One World Trade Center
Suite 3371
New York, N.Y. 10048

RE: Reconsideration of HRL 083577

Dear Mr. Simon:

This is in reference to your letter dated July 6, 1989, requesting reconsideration of HRL 083577 dated April 21, 1989, concerning the country of origin and classification of a fusible interlining fabric. Samples were submitted.


The merchandise at issue is a fusible interlining fabric. The base cloth is a 100 percent cotton fabric that is woven in the People's Republic of China. The fabric is then shipped in the greige to Hong Kong for bleaching, Sanforizing and polyethylene coating by the engraved roller printing technique. The fabric is then shipped from Hong Kong to the United States in rolls of 100 and 150 yards each.

The cotton fabric has been covered on one side with thermoplastic polyethlene dots and contains a thermoset plastic finish on the other surface. The material, which has a weight of 153.27 grams per square meter, consists by weight of approximately 86.4 percent cotton fabric and 13.6 percent of the plastic dots. Examination of the material indicates that the plastic dots cover a substantial part of the total surface of the side to which they have been applied.


1. What is the classification of the merchandise at issue?

2. Whether there is substantial transformation of the merchandise at issue.



Classification of goods under the HTSUSA is governed by the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI), taken in order. GRI 1 provides that classification shall be determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes.

Heading 5903, HTSUSA, covers textile fabrics impregnated, coated, covered or laminated with plastics, other than those of heading 5902. In order for a fabric to be considered coated within the meaning of heading 5903, Note 2(a)(1), Chapter 59, HTSUSA, provides that whatever the nature of the plastic material, the coating must be visible to the naked eye, but that no account is to be taken of changes in color.

The Explanatory Notes constitute the official interpretation of the tariff at the international level. The Explanatory Notes to heading 5903, HTSUSA, state that heading 5903 includes:
textile fabrics which are spattered by spraying with visible particles of thermoplastic material and are capable of providing a bond to other fabrics or materials on the application of heat and pressure.

The fabric at issue is spattered with visible small dots that are capable of providing a bond to other fabrics or materials. Therefore, the merchandise at issue is classifiable under heading 5903, HTSUSA.


The country of origin of goods will change if a substantial transformation of the goods occurs through processes performed on the goods in another country. 19 CFR 12.130 (e) states that an
article or material will become the product of a particular country if a fabric is dyed and printed and has two or more of the following finishing operations: bleaching, shrinking, fulling, napping, decating, permanent stiffening, weighting, permanent embossing, or moireing.

In HRL 083577, we stated that the fabric was dyed because it was bleached white. Upon further examination of the tariff schedule we have concluded that this is incorrect. The use of optical whitening agents or brighteners is a form of bleaching and not a dyeing process. This is stated in subheading note 1(f) and (g), to Section XI, HTSUSA, which reads as follows:

(f) Bleached woven fabric

Woven fabric which:

(i) Has been bleached or, unless the context otherwise requires, dyed white or treated with a white dressing, in the piece;

(g) Dyed woven fabric

Woven fabric which:

(i) Is dyed a single uniform color other than white (unless the context otherwise requires) or has been treated with a colored finish other than white (unless the context otherwise requires), in the piece.

Therefore, the merchandise at issue is not considered to be dyed.

The inquirer states that the fabric must be considered to be printed because of Bruce Duncan Co., Inc. v. United States, 80 Cust. Ct. 48, C.D. 4736 (1978). It was held in this case that a fusible interlining fabric that was coated with polyamide pin points was considered to be "coated fabric". However, we do not believe that coating and printing are the same.

The inquirer uses the Fairchild's Dictionary of Textiles, Wingate, to define the roller printing method. Printing, in this
same dictionary, is defined as follows:

Applying a colored pattern to fabric, yarn or sliver by any of a large number of printing methods in which color is deposited in thick paste form and treated with steam or chemicals to cause it to migrate into or adhere to textile material.

In Understanding Fabrics: From Fiber to Finished Cloth, Gioello, page 185, printing is stated as:
the process of transferring color, design, pattern or motif or decoration of one or more colors in any one of a variety of methods or techniques to fabric.

It is our opinion that printing is the process of applying color to a fabric to provide a decorative function. The plastic coating on the fabric at issue cannot be considered to be printed. However, even if we did consider the material to be printed it would not help qualify the material as being substantially transformed. To be substantially transformed the material must be dyed, printed, and have two other processes performed to it. The material at issue is not dyed or printed.

It has been brought to our attention that in an earlier ruling, HRL 080649 dated February 3, 1988, a similar fabric was found to be substantially transformed. However, the fabric in the previous ruling is distinguishable from the fabric currently at issue because it was dyed and put through further processing procedures.



The merchandise at issue is classifiable under subheading 5903.20.10, HTSUSA, which provides for textile fabrics coated with polyurethane, of cotton. The rate of duty is 5.3 percent ad valorem.


The merchandise at issue is not substantially transformed,
and therefore, it is considered a product of China for country of origin purposes.


John Durant, Director

Previous Ruling Next Ruling

See also: