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HQ 086846

July 23, 1990

CLA-2 CO:R:C:G 086846 CMR


TARIFF NO.: 5903.20.2500

Mr. Carlton L. Brainard
District Director of Customs
U.S. Customs Service
111 W. Huron Street
Buffalo, New York 14202-2378

RE: Internal Advice Request 5/90 regarding classification of vertical blind material

Dear Mr. Brainard:

This ruling is in response to a request for internal advice initiated by Sonnenberg, Anderson, O'Donnell & Rodriguez on behalf of their clients, Edward Zarach & Associates and the Cooper Industries/Kirsch Company, regarding the classification of vertical blind material.


Five styles of vertical blind fabric are at issue: Clouds, Contempo, Lagoon, Navarre, and Oxford. Samples of the fabrics at issue, impregnated with plastics and not impregnated, were submitted. However, this office did not receive samples of the Oxford fabric and therefore, this ruling will be limited to the fabric samples we did receive.

The various styles are similarly made of woven man-made fiber construction. They have all been impregnated with a plastics material which, according to the importer, is a polyvinyl chloride. However, two samples were sent to the Customs laboratory for analysis and the laboratory report indicates that the samples had a polyurethane type plastics material applied to them.

The vertical blind materials are made in Canada by Newlands Textiles, Inc. and are imported on rolls of approximately 3-1/2 inch widths and are sold by the linear unit. After importation, the materials are fabricated into vanes for vertical blinds.


Are the fabric samples classified as impregnated fabrics of heading 5903, HTSUSA, as narrow woven fabrics of heading 5806, HTSUSA, or as woven fabrics of Chapters 54 or 55?


Classification of goods under the HTSUSA is governed by the General Rules of Interpretation (GRIs). GRI 1 provides that "classification shall be determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes, provided such headings or notes do not otherwise require, according to [the remaining GRIs taken in order]."

The General Explanatory Note for Chapter 58 indicates that narrow woven fabrics of heading 5806, impregnated, coated, covered or laminated, are excluded from Chapter 58. Note 1, Chapter 59, provides, among other things, that woven fabrics of heading 5806 are included in the expression "textile fabrics" for the purposes of Chapter 59. Therefore, if we find that these fabrics are impregnated with plastics, they are classifiable in Chapter 59. If they are not impregnated with plastics, within the requirements of the HTSUSA, then classification as narrow woven fabrics of heading 5806 must be considered.

Heading 5903, HTSUSA, provides for textile fabrics impregnated, coated, covered or laminated with plastics, other than those of heading 5902. Note 2, Chapter 59, provides in pertinent part:

Heading 5903 applies to:

(a) Textile fabrics, impregnated, coated, covered or laminated with plastics, whatever the weight per square meter and whatever the nature of the plastic material (compact or cellular), other than:

(1) Fabrics in which the impregnation, coating or covering cannot be seen with the naked eye (usually chapters 50 to 55, 58 or 60); for the purpose of this provision, no account should be taken of any resulting change of color

It is our view that the wording of Note 2(a)(1), "visible to the naked eye", is a clear expression by the drafters of the Harmonized System that a significant, if not substantial, amount of material must be added to a fabric for it to be considered "impregnated, coated or covered."

Therefore, following the strict wording of Note 2(a)(1), for a fabric to be considered impregnated, coated or covered within the meaning of the Note, the plastics material added to the fabric must be visibly distinguishable from the fabric without the use of magnification. However, Customs has ruled that magnification may be used, as an aid, to verify that a substance which appears to be a plastic is indeed a plastic.

In the Import Specialist's comments in the file, she indicates that small amounts of transparent plastic are visible at the interstices of the yarns when the fabrics are held up to light. Upon inspection at Headquarters, we were also able to perceive plastic in the intersections of the yarns of the fabrics when holding the fabrics up to light. In only one instance was it necessary to verify what was being seen by use of magnification.

It is permissible to view fabrics from various perspectives: frontal, cross-sectional, and by holding it up to light. In the instance of impregnated fabrics, it is possible that the only means by which the impregnation may be visible to the naked eye is looking for the presence of the plastics material in the interstices of the yarns.


Since the fabrics are impregnated by plastics material which is visible to the naked eye, the fabrics are classified as textile fabrics, impregnated with polyurethane, of man-made fibers, other, other in subheading 5903.20.2500, HTSUSA, textile category 229, dutiable at 8.5 percent ad valorem. Products classified in this subheading which meet the requirements of originating in Canada as prescribed in the United States-Canada Free Trade Agreement are subject to duty at 6.8 percent ad valorem.

The designated textile and apparel category may be subdivided into parts. If so, the visa and quota requirements applicable to the subject merchandise may be affected. Since part categories are the result of international bilateral agreements which are subject to frequent renegotiations and changes, to obtain the most current information available, we suggest you check, close to the time of shipment, the Status Report On Current Import Quotas (Restraint Levels), an internal issuance of the U.S. Customs Service which is updated weekly and is available for inspection at your local Customs office.

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.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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