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HQ 086348

March 14, 1989

CLA-2 CO:R:C:G 086348 RFC


TARIFF NO.: 4803.00.4000

Mr. Al Sherman
Jack R. Huls & Co.
61 - 12th Steet
P.O. Box 1599
Blaine, Washington 98230

RE: Air-laid paper used in the manufacture of paper wipes, table cloths, napkins, and the like

Dear Mr. Sherman:

This ruling letter is in response to your request of September 29, 1989, on behalf of Merfin Hygienic Products Ltd., concerning classification under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA), for air-laid papers used in the manfacture of paper wipes, table cloths, napkins, and the like. Samples of the papers were submitted.


The submitted samples consist of sheets of white, air-laid paper of 100% chemical-bleached pulp fibers and containing an ash of 0.1%. The sample papers are not coated and are impregnated with plastic that acts as a binder on the fibers. The paper is imported in parent rolls exceeding 36 cm in width which are cut to size and finished by the purchaser for use as paper wipes, table cloths, napkins, and similar items.


Whether air-laid paper for sanitary, hygienic and other personal use is coated or impregnated paper within the meaning of Note 2 to Chapter 48 of the HTSUSA.


Classification of merchandise under the HTSUSA is governed by the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's). GRI 1 states, in part, that "for legal purposes, classification shall be determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes...."

Subheading 4803.00.4000, HTSUSA, provides for toilet or facial tissue stock, towel or napkin stock...in rolls of a width exceeding 36 cm...: other. Following GRI 1, the above-described goods would appear to fit squarely within this subheading of the HTSUSA. Chapter Note 2 to Chapter 48, however, states, in part, that "...heading No. 4803...[does] not apply to paper, paperboard, cellulose wadding or webs of cellulose fibers which have been otherwise processed, for example, by coating or impregnation."

In turn, however, the Explanatory Notes to chapter 48 on "impregnated paper and paperboard" state:

Most of these papers and paperboards are obtained by treatment with oils, waxes, plastics, etc., in such a manner as to permeate them and give them special qualities (e.g., to render them waterproof, greaseproof, and sometimes translucent or transparent). They are used largely for protective wrapping or as insulating materials.

Impregnated papers and paperboards include, oiled wrapping paper, oiled or waxed manifold paper, stencil paper, indicator papers such as litmus or pole-finding papers, insulating paper and paperboard impregnated, e.g., with plastics, rubberised paper, paper and paperboard merely impregnated with tar or bitumen.

In the report issued by the New York Customs laboratory on the chemical composition of the instant papers, the report states that the "samples are impregnated with plastic (polystyrene/acrylate type) that is acting as a binder on the fibers." (emphasis added) It is clear, then, that the plastic with which the instant papers is "impregnated" is used for purposes of binding the fibers of the papers and not to give the papers "special qualities," as discussed above in the Explanatory Notes to chapter 48 on "impregnated paper and paperboard" (e.g., treating the papers with oils, waxes, or plastics to render them waterproof or greaseproof for use as protective wrapping or as insulating materials). Accordingly, the instant papers are not "impregnated papers" for purposes of Chapter Note 2 to Chapter

48 and should not be classified as such under the HTSUSA.


The above-described goods are classified under subheading 4803.00.4000, HTSUSA, which provides for toilet or facial tissue stock, towel or napkin stock...: other. The goods are duty free.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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