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HQ 086833

September 7, 1990

CO:R:C:G 086833 CRS


TARIFF NO.: 5404.10.2090

John N. Politis, Esq.
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg, P.A.
Equitable Plaza
3435 Wiltshire Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90010-2204

RE: Polypropylene filaments, approximately nine inches in length and a decitex of 92, are not classifiable as staple fibers of heading 5503, or as tubes, pipes and hoses of plastics of heading 3917; request for reconsideration of NYRL 848387 dated January 8, 1990.

Dear Mr. Politis:

This is in reply to your letter dated March 28, 1990, on behalf of your client, Mitsubishi International Corporation, in which you requested reconsideration of New York Ruling Letter (NYRL) 848387 dated January 8, 1990.


In NYRL 848387 certain microporous polypropylene fiber membranes from Japan were classified in subheading 5404.10.2090, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA). In your letter of March 28th you contend that this classification was incorrect and that the fibers should instead have been classified in subheading 5503.40.0000, HTSUSA, or in the alternative, in subheading 3917.32.0050, HTSUSA.

The fiber membranes measure approximately nine inches in length, have no twist, and are hollow. The sample fibers are a synthetic monofilament of 100 percent polypropylene, measure 0.22 mm in cross section. The samples have been analyzed by a Customs laboratory and have been determined to have a decitex of 92.

You state that the fibers are used in the medical profession to oxygenate blood, e.g., in artificial lungs. In support of this you have submitted promotional literature from Mitsubishi and two articles on the subject of hollow fiber membranes.


Whether the polypropylene hollow fibers in question are classifiable as staple fibers of heading 5503, HTSUSA, as tubes, pipes and fittings of heading 3917, HTSUSA, or as monofilament of heading 5404, HTSUSA.


Heading 5503, HTSUSA, provides for synthetic staple fibers, not carded, combed or otherwise processed for spinning. The Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System, Explanatory Notes, which constitute the official interpretation of the Harmonized System at the international level, provide in relevant part at 759, that:

Man-made staple fibres are usually manufactured by extrusion through spinnerets (jets) having a large number of holes (sometimes several thousand); the filaments from a large number of spinnerets (jets) are then collected together in the form of a tow. This tow may be stretched and then cut into short lengths, either immediately or after having undergone various processes (washing, bleaching, dyeing, etc.) while in the tow form. The length into which the fibres are cut is usually between 25 mm and 180 mm and varies according to the type of man-made fibre concerned, the type of yarn to be manufactured and the nature of any other textile fibres with which they are to be mixed.

The hollow fibers at issue have been manufactured by extrusion through spinnerets and are cut into lengths of approximately nine inches or 229 mm. The fibers in question therefore exceed the usual length of staple fibers as defined by the Explanatory Notes. Furthermore, it is Customs' understanding that the decitex of the hollow filaments is greater than that normally found in staple fibers.

Heading 3917, HTSUSA, provides for tubes, pipes and hoses and fittings therefor (for example, joints, elbows, flanges), of plastic. However, Note 2(l), Chapter 39, HTSUSA, excludes goods of Section XI (textiles and textile articles) from the purview of the Chapter. You acknowledge Note 2(l) but argue that the hollow filaments, because of their special features, should not be considered textile articles of Section XI, HTSUSA. Nevertheless, when read in conjunction with Notes 1(g) and 1(h), Section XI, HTSUSA, we are of the view that the Notes evince the intent of the drafters of the Harmonized System to exclude all textiles and textile articles from Chapter 39 other than certain monofilament (with a cross-sectional dimension exceeding 1 mm) and strip or the like (with an apparent width exceeding 5 mm), as well as woven, knitted or crocheted fabrics, felts or nonwovens, which have been impregnated, coated, covered or laminated with plastics. The filaments have a cross-sectional dimension of 0.22 mm and, despite the fact that they have a medical application, they remain textile articles and are therefore excluded from Chapter 39.

Heading 5404, HTSUSA, covers, inter alia, for synthetic monofilament of 67 decitex or more and of which no cross- sectional dimension exceeds 1 mm. The Explanatory Notes provide in pertinent part at 754, EN 54.04, that heading 54.04 covers:

(1) Synthetic monofilament. These are filaments extruded as single filaments. They are classified here only if they measure 67 decitex or more and do not exceed 1 mm in any cross-sectional dimension. Monofilaments of this heading may be of any cross-sectional configuration and may be obtained not only by extrusion but by lamination or fusion.

All these products are generally in long lengths, but remain classified here even if cut into short lengths and whether or not put up for retail sale.

The filaments in question have a cross-sectional dimension of 0.22 mm and a decitex of 92, and while they have been cut into short lengths, are classifiable in heading 5404 pursuant to EN 54.04.


The sample filaments at issue are classifiable in subheading 5404.10.2090, HTSUSA, under the provision for synthetic monofilament of 67 decitex or more and of which no cross- sectional dimension exceeds 1 mm..., monofilament, other, of polyesters, and is dutiable at the rate of 7.8 percent ad valorem.

Due to the changeable nature of the statistical annotation (the ninth and tenth digits of the classification) and the restraint (quota/visa) categories, you should contact your local Customs office prior to importation of this merchandise to determine the current status of any import restraints or requirements.


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