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HQ 086757


July 12, 1990

CLA-2 CO:R:C:G RFC 086757

CATEGORY: CLASSIFICATION

TARIFF NO.: 3920.10

Jean F. Maguire
Area Director of Customs
New York Seaport
6 World Trade Center
New York, NY 10048

RE: Internal Advice Request No. 67/89 relating to the tariff classification of certain printed plastic film for packaging

Dear Ms. Maguire:

This request for internal advice was initiated by a letter dated October 21, 1989, from Sobel Shipping Co., Inc., on behalf of Marcal Paper Mills Inc.

FACTS:

The merchandise consists of 19-inch-wide rolls of plastic film upon which, at regular intervals, are printed decorative pictures, self-promoting slogans, manufacturer's name, product guarantee, code bar, etc. Also on the film at regular intervals are a series of dots (identified as "magnetic black ink marks") which are stated to be read by an electric eye on a packaging machine in order to activate the cutting, folding, and sealing of the plastic film around certain paper items.

ISSUE:

Whether printed plastic film imported in rolls 19 inches in width should be classified as plastic film, plastic articles for the conveyance or packing of goods, or printed matter under the HTSUSA.

LAW AND ANALYSIS:

Subheading 3920 provides for other plates, sheets, film, foil and strip, of plastics, noncellular and not reinforced, laminated, supported or similarly combined with other materials. Chapter note 10 to chapter 39 states:

In headings 3920 and 3921, the expression "plates, sheets,
film, foil and strip" applies only to plates, sheets, film, foil and strip (other than those of chapter 54) and to blocks of regular geometric shape, whether or not printed or otherwise surface-worked, uncut or cut into rectangles (including squares) but not further worked (even if when so cut they become articles ready for use) (emphasis in original).

Additionally, the Explanatory Notes to heading 3920 state:

According to Note 10 to this Chapter, the expression "plates, sheets, film, foil and strip" applies only to plates, sheets, film, foil and strip and to blocks of regular geometric shape, whether or not printed or otherwise surface-worked (for example, polished, embossed, coloured, merely curved or corrugated), uncut or cut into rectangles (including squares) but not further worked (even if when so cut they become articles ready for use, for example, tablecloths).

In the instant case, the above-described goods at the time of importation are simply printed rolls of plastic film. The goods, then, are provided for specifically or eo nomine in the HTSUSA under heading 3920, and should be so classified.

Subheading 3923 provides for, in part, "articles for the conveyance or packing of goods..." (emphasis added). The above- described goods are not classified under this heading because (1) the goods, as discussed above, are specifically provided for under heading 3920, and (2) the goods are not "articles" (which includes unfinished or incomplete articles) at the time of importation but rather a material or component for use in making an article (e.g., rolls of plastic film for use in making plastic bags). (In the October 21, 1989, letter of request for internal advice, the requester cites GRI 2(a) in support of its argument that the instant goods should be considered "incomplete or unfinished articles." GRI 2(a) states, in part, that "[a]ny reference in a heading to an article shall be taken to include a reference to that article incomplete or unfinished, provided that, as entered, the incomplete or unfinished article has the essential character of the complete or finished article. As the goods are not articles--including unfinished or incomplete articles--then GRI 2(a) has no application to the present classification analysis.)

Note 2 to section VII states that "[e]xcept for the goods of heading 3918 or 3919, plastics, rubber and articles thereof, printed with motifs, characters or pictorial representations, which are not merely incidental to the primary use of the goods, fall in chapter 49." The general notes to the Explanatory Notes
to chapter 49 state, in part, that "this Chapter covers all printed matter of which the essential nature and use is determined by the fact of its being printed with motifs, characters or pictorial representations...[with the exception of] ...goods...in which the printing is merely incidental to their primary use...." In the instant case, the printing on the plastic film merely consists of decorative pictures, self- promoting slogans, manufacturer's name, product guarantee, code bar, etc., all inconsequential to the nature and use of the rolls of plastic film at the time of importation. Therefore, the printing on the rolls does not act to render the essential nature and use of the rolls as imported to be that of "printed matter." The rolls of plastic film, then, are not properly classifiable in chapter 49. (The "magnetic black ink marks" which are on the rolls of plastic film are merely an encoding device not within the contemplation of "printed matter" for chapter 49 and, also, do not act to render the essential nature and use of the rolls of plastic film as imported to be that of "printed matter.")

HOLDING:

The above-described rolls of plastic film are classified under subheading 3920.10.0000, HTSUSA, which provides for other plates, sheets, film, foil and strip, of plastics, noncellular and not reinforced, laminated, supported or similarly combined with other materials, of polymers of ethylene.

You should inform the inquirer of this ruling.

Sincerely,

John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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