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HQ 085809

November 7, 1989

CLA-2 CO:R:C:G 085809 HP


TARIFF NO.: 3307.90.0000

Ms. Carol A. Garrity
Import Coordinator
Garrett-Hewitt International Inc.
901 North Broadway - Suite 16
North White Plains, NY 10603

RE: Nonwoven wet tissue paper impregnated with fragrance, ethanol, benzalkonium chloride, glycerine, and distilled water is other perfumery, cosmetic or toiletry preparation.soap;surface-active;washing;detergent;3401

Dear Ms. Garrity:

This is in reply to your letter of August 16, 1989, concerning the tariff classification of nonwoven tissue paper, produced in Japan, under the Harmonized
Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA).


The merchandise at issue consists of 100% nonwoven cellulose fibers, formed into tissues for either bulk packaging or retail sale, and impregnated with 0.15% fragrance, 7.5% ethanol, 0.04% benzalkonium chloride, 0.65% glycerine, and 91.66% distilled water. Benzalkonium chloride is defined in The Condensed Chemical
Dictionary (7th Ed.) (Reinhold Book Co. 1966) at 105, as a "[t] ypical quaternary ammonium salt", a mixture of alkyl dimethylbenzylammonium chlorides of the general formula C6H5CH2N(CH3)2RCl, in which R is a mixture of the alkyls of C8H17 to C18H37.
Very soluble in water, its uses are as a cationic detergent, surface antiseptic, and fungicide. The products are sold in plastic packets for use in removing make- up and other functions relating to cleaning the skin.


Whether the instant merchandise is classifiable under heading 3401 of the

Heading 5603, HTSUSA, provides for nonwovens, whether or not impregnated.
The General Rules of Interpretation (GRIs) to the HTSUSA govern the classification of goods in the tariff schedule. GRI 1 states, in pertinent part :

... classification shall be determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes ....

Goods which cannot be classified in accordance with GRI 1 are to be classified in accordance with GRIs 2 through 4, taken in order.

Note 1 to Chapter 56, HTSUSA excludes from this chapter

(a)Wadding, felt or nonwovens, impregnated, coated or covered with substances or preparations (for example, perfumes or cosmetics of chapter 33, soaps or detergents of heading 3401 ...) where the textile material is present merely as a carrying medium....

This exclusion clearly applies to the instant merchandise. It is the impreg nating substance which is significant to the consumer; the nonwoven merely acts as a conveyance. Classification in heading 5603, therefore, is incorrect.

Heading 3401, HTSUSA, provides for, inter alia, nonwovens, impregnated , coated or covered with soap or detergent. The Explanatory Notes (EN) to the
HTSUSA constitute the official interpretation of the tariff at the international level.
The EN to this heading excludes "(e) organic surface-active ... prepara tions and washing preparations ...of heading 34.02.

Subheading 3402.20, HTSUSA, provides for surface-active preparations, washing preparations and cleaning preparations, other than those of heading 3401.
The EN to heading 3402 recognizes that organic surface-active agents may be


(2)Cationic, in which case they ionise [sic.] in aqueous solution to produce positively charged organic ions responsible for the surface activity. Examples are: salts of ... quaternary ammonium bases.

As we mentioned above, benzalkonium chloride is a typical quaternary ammonium salt. The EN goes on to describe surface-active preparations as including
(3)Other mixtures based on a surface-active agent of Part (I) above (e.g., surface-active preparations containing a portion of soap, such as alkylben zenesulphonate with sodium stearate).

Surface-active preparations [described above] are used for their cleansing, wetting emulsifying or dispers ing properties in many industrial applications, for example as:

(i)Detergents for the textile industry, to eliminate fats and soiling matter on textiles during manufacture and finishing.

(ii)Wetting agents, emulsifying agents, fulling assis tants and brightening agents, for the textile industry.

(iii)Soaking agents (for raw hides), de-greasing agents, wetting agents (for use in dyeing), levelling agents or toners for the leather or fur industries.

(iv)Basic materials for the manufacture of washing preparations....

(v)Dispersing agents for the paper or synthetic rubber industries.

(vi)Flotation aids for the mining industry.

(vii)Emulsifying agents used in the preparation of pharmaceutical or cosmetic products.

It is our opinion that the instant merchandise is not the type of surface- active preparation provided for by this subheading. Used in industrial applica tions, the exemplars listed in the EN make clear the intention of the drafters of the tariff schedule not to consider these types of personal wipes as "surface- active preparations."

Subheading 3402.20, HTSUSA, also provides for washing and cleaning preparations, having a basis of organic surface-active agents. The EN to this heading describes these preparations as follows: (B)Washing preparations (including auxiliary washing preparations) and cleaning preparations, having a basis of soap or other organic surface-active agents.

These preparations act on surfaces by bringing the soil on the surface into a state of solution or dispersion.

Washing preparations based on surface-active agents are also known as detergents. This type of preparation is used for washing clothes and also dishes or kitchen utensils.

Auxiliary washing preparations are used for soaking (pre-washing), rinsing or bleaching clothes, household linens, etc.

Cleaning preparations serve for cleaning floors, windows or other surfaces. They may also contain small quantities of odoriferous substances.

It is clear that, based upon the argument above, the instant merchandise is neither a washing preparation nor a cleaning preparation under this heading .
Therefore, classification in heading 3402 is precluded.

Returning to heading 3401, HTSUSA, organic surface-active products and preparations for use as soap, are covered only when in the form or bars, cakes, or molded pieces or shapes. Although impregnated nonwovens are provided for, the impregnating material can only be soap or detergent. The instant merchandise contains only 0.04% surface-active product. It is our opinion that when added in such infinitesimal quantities, the benzalkonium chloride is used for its germicidal or fungicidal properties. Therefore, the nonwoven material is not impregnated with a soap or detergent, and the wet tissue is not a product of heading 3401.

Heading 3307, HTSUSA, provides for perfumery, cosmetic or toilet prepara tions. Note 3 to Chapter 33 states:

The expression "perfumery, cosmetic or toilet prepara tions" in heading 3307 applies, inter alia, to the following products: ... wadding, felt and nonwovens, impregnated, coated or covered with perfume or cosmetics.

The wet tissue is impregnated with only 0.15% fragrance, as well as several other ingredients. Since the tissues are more than merely perfumed, and taking into account the relatively insignificant amount of fragrance, we feel that without further evidence of the drafter's intent to include articles similar to the instant merchandise in this heading, the wet towels would not be classifiable herein.
The General EN to Chapter 33 provides:

The products of headings 33.03 to 33.07 remain in these headings whether or not they contain subsidiary pharmaceutical or disinfectant constituents, or are held out as having subsidiary therapeutic or prophylactic value ....

Since the Explanatory Note allows us to discount the presence of the subsidiary constituents for classification purposes under headings 3303 to 3307, it is our opinion that the wet towels are now classifiable as other perfumery, cosmetic or toilet preparations.


As a result of the foregoing, the instant merchandise is classified under subheading 3307.90.0000, HTSUSA, as pre-shave, shaving or after-shave prepar ations, personal deodorants, bath preparations, depilatories and other perfumery, cosmetic or toilet preparations, not elsewhere specified or included, prepared room deodorizers, whether or not perfumed or having disinfectant properties, other.
The applicable rate of duty is 5.4 percent ad valorem.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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