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HQ 085980

March 13, 1990

CLA-2 CO:R:C:G 085980 JLJ


TARIFF NO.: 6815.99.40

Mr. T.A. Schofield
A. N. Deringer, Inc.
R. D. #1, Box W-432
Alexandria Bay, New York 13607-9798

RE: Tariff classification of compressed gasket material, Durlon 8400

Dear Mr. Schofield:

You submitted an internal advice request dated November 7, 1989, for a tariff classification under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA), for a compressed gasket material, Durlon 8400, manufactured in Canada by your client Durabla. Although the internal advice request was not submitted to the Customs Service field office in accordance with 19 C.F.R. 177.11, we have decided to waive the requirement in this case based on the fact that we have since received input from both the office and the national import specialist. A sample of Durlon 8400 was submitted along with your request.


Durlon 8400 is composed, by weight and by value, of the following components:

Weight $ Value

Rubber 12.45 26.70
Solvent negligible 6.36
Chemical .73 1.24
Mineral Filler 32.42 12.94
Synthetic Pulp 4.31 51.68
Other Pulp 5.09 57.23

A descriptive brochure concerning Durlon 8400 states that "Durlon 8400 Gold contains high temperature synthetic fibers and minerals combined with high grade nitrile NBR rubber. Durlon 8400 exhibits higher temperature limits than aramid based materials and the handling and cutting characteristics are greatly improved over carbon and glass fiber products."

The manufacturing process is as follows. Rubber sheeting or slabs (NBR acrylonitrile-butadiene) are mixed with a solvent until the rubber becomes a pasty mush. This mush is mixed with rubber curing agents. In a separate dry mix operation, synthetic and other fibers are combined with the mineral fillers. To this dry mixture is added the pasty rubber mush. The combined mixture is processed for thirty to sixty minutes into a crumbly dough, and more solvent is added to maintain pliancy.

The dough is fed into the hopper of a two-roll rubber sheet manufacturing machine consisting of one hot and one cold roll. The hot roll is the take-up roll, while the cold roll serves to compress the dough evenly across the hot roller as both rolls rotate. The rollers are set one-thousandth of an inch apart. Small amounts of the dough are added continuously to the hopper of the shelter. At the end of one revolution, the rollers are set another thousandth of an inch apart, and the process is repeated until the desired thickness is reached. The sheet is then removed from the hot roller.

In Customs Headquarters Ruling Letter (HRL) 084970 of September 26, 1989, we held that similar compressed gasket material, Durlon 8500 and Durlon 8600, also manufactured by your client, were classified under the provision for articles of stone or other mineral substances, not elsewhere specified or included: other articles: other: other, in subheading 6815.99.40, HTSUSA, dutiable at the ad valorem rate of 4.5 percent (3.6 percent ad valorem if eligible for entry under the United States-Canada Free Trade Agreement).


What is the proper tariff classification of Durlon 8400?


In HRL 084970 we discussed the HTSUSA classification of similar compressed gasket materials. While the composition of Durlon 8400 differs somewhat from Durlon 8500 and Durlon 8600, in the percentages (both weight and value) of material involved and in having a synthetic fiber other than Kevlar aramid, it is still quite similar in composition and in function.

Durlon 8400 is a compressed gasket material which is a composite article composed of synthetic rubber, textile fibers and mineral fillers. As such, there are several possible tariff classifications under the HTSUSA--i.e., as a sheet of vulcanized rubber in heading 4008, HTSUSA, as a nonwoven textile article in heading 5603, HTSUSA, or as an article of other mineral substances in heading 6815, HTSUSA. A detailed discussion of these possibilities is set forth in HRL 084970 for Durlon 8500 and Durlon 8600.

As in HRL 084970, the merchandise in question is produced from a mixture of several materials each of which is classifiable under a separate heading. GRI 3(a), HTSUSA, states that, when two or more headings each refer to part only of the materials contained in a composite good, the headings are to be regarded as equally specific. Inasmuch as none of the headings referenced above refer to all of the materials contained in Durlon 8400, we cannot classify it according to GRI 3(a), HTSUSA.

GRI 3(b), HTSUSA, states that composite goods consisting of different materials shall be classified as if they consisted of the material which gives them their essential character. If the essential character of Durlon 8400 can be determined, the product may be classified according to GRI 3(b), HTSUSA.

Durlon 8400 has the appearance of a rubbery material and is made by a rubber manufacturing process. It is made in part of rubber, which serves to bind the other components together, to provide some compressibility when the gasket is in use, and to seal impermeably. Counsel for Durabla have advised us concerning Durlon 8500 and Durlon 8600 that the academic community and the industry experts view vulcanized rubber with significant amounts of mineral fillers as a product of the rubber industry. We assume that Durlon 8400 is regarded in a similar fashion.

The synthetic fibers in Durlon 8400 are more expensive than either the rubber or the mineral fillers. They serve to strengthen and to reinforce the compressed gasket material. They also make it more flexible.

The mineral fillers are the largest single component by weight. They extend the bulk of the gasket. They also provide chemical and thermal resistance to the gasket material. In addition, some fillers have sealing, drying or binding properties.

In view of the significant characteristics and functions of each of the three main components of Durlon 8400 (i.e., rubber, minerals and synthetic fibers), it is impossible to determine that any one component constitutes the essential character of the instant gasket material, so we must turn to GRI 3(c), HTSUSA.

GRI 3(c) states that when goods cannot be classified by reference to GRI 3(a) or GRI 3(b), they shall be classified under the heading which occurs last in numerical order among those which equally merit consideration. Among headings 4008, 5603 and 6815, heading 6815 occurs last in numerical order, therefore Durlon 8400 must be classified in that heading.


We find that Durlon 8400 is classified under the subheading for other mineral substances, not elsewhere specified or included, in subheading 6815.99.40, HTSUSA.


John Durant, Director

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