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 0086383 - HQ 0086452 > HQ 0086391

Previous Ruling Next Ruling

HQ 086391

April 10, 1990

CLA-2 CO:R:C:G 086391 RFC


TARIFF NO.: 4803.00.4000

Mr. Michael A. Tassone
James River Corporation
P.O. Box 790
Green Bay, WI 54305-5790

RE: Air-laid paper used in the manufacture of paper towels

Dear Mr. Tassone:

This ruling letter is in response to your request of January 15, 1990, on behalf of James River Corporation, concerning classification under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA), for air-laid paper used in the manufacture of paper towels. The paper is produced in Israel and samples were submitted.


The submitted samples consist of sheets of embossed, white, air-laid paper which is described as being composed of bleached, virgin-wood-pulp fibers bonded with a latex binder. The paper is 80 percent cellulose fiber and 20 percent latex binder. No synthetic fibers are used in the manufacture of the paper. The paper is imported in rolls exceeding 36 cm in width for use in the manufacture of paper towels.


Whether air-laid paper for use in the manufacture of paper towels is "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 instant case, the air-laid paper contains latex-- which is merely a rubber or plastic substance. See Webster's New World Dictionary 763 (1988). The latex acts as a binder or bonding agent on the wood-pulp fibers of the paper. Therefore, the latex with which the instant paper is "impregnated" is used for purposes of binding the fibers of the paper and not to give the paper "special qualities," as discussed above in the Explanatory Notes to chapter 48. Accordingly, the instant paper is not "impregnated paper" for purposes of and as contemplated by 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

Previous Ruling Next Ruling

See also: