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HQ 086865

July 27, 1990

CLA-2 CO:R:C:G 086865 RFC


TARIFF NO.: 3206.49.10

Ms. Tracey Sandor
Colortech Inc.
8011 Dixie Road
Brampton, Ontario
Canada, L6T 3V1

RE: Reconsideration of New York Ruling Letters (NYRL) 846248 and 843411; coloring matter

Dear Ms. Sandor:

This letter is in response to your letter of March 15, 1990, on behalf of Colortech Inc., requesting a reconsideration of NYRLs 846248, dated August 2, 1989, and 843411, dated November 13, 1989. Both of these ruling letters concern the tariff classification under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUSA) of certain coloring matter consisting of carbon black dispersed in plastic.


The goods simply consist of a carbon black dispersed in plastic and used as a coloring matter.


Whether a coloring matter consisting of carbon black and plastic should be classified under the HTSUSA as "concentrated dispersions of pigments in plastics materials" or as "preparations based on carbon black."


Classification of merchandise under the HTSUSA is governed by the General Rules of Interpretation (GRIs). GRI 1 requires that classification be determined first according to the terms of the headings of the tariff and any relative section or chapter notes and, unless otherwise required, then according to the remaining GRIs, taken in order. Under GRI 3(a), when goods are, prima facie, classifiable under two or more headings, the goods shall be classified under the heading that provides the most specific description from among headings providing a more general description (i.e., the goods should be classified under the heading that most clearly identifies them). GRI 6 prescribes that, for legal purposes, GRI 1 to 5 shall govern, mutatis mutandis, classification at subheading levels within the same heading. In view of the above, then, when goods are, prima facie, classifiable under two or more subheadings within the same heading, the goods shall be classified under the subheading that most specifically describes or identifies them.

In the instant classification analysis, the most relevant heading under which the goods may be classified is heading 3206, which provides for, among other things, other coloring matter and preparations. Within this heading, there exist two subheadings under which the goods may be potentially classified: subheadings 3206.49.10 and 3206.49.40.

Subheading 3206.49.40 provides for "preparations based on carbon black." Under this broad and expansive article description, any coloring matter product may be classified under this subheading as long as it is based on or contains the pigment carbon black. The carbon black need not be concentrated nor is there any limit on the number or amounts of other elements that may be present in the coloring matter product.

The alternate subheading within heading 3206 in which the instant goods may be classified is subheading 3206.49.10. This subheading provides for "concentrated dispersions of pigments in plastics materials" (emphasis added). Subheading 3206.49.10 is, quite obviously, a very restricted subheading, limited to only coloring matter products consisting of concentrated dispersions of pigments (e.g., carbon black) in plastic. The above-quoted article description for subheading 3206.49.10 fits squarely with the description that you provide of your product in your March 15, 1990, letter, in paragraphs 1 and 2 on page 1: "carbon black concentrate...combined with linear low density polyethylene [i.e., a plastic material]." Given that your product clearly is more specifically and aptly described by the restrictive article description for subheading 3206.49.10 than by the broad and expansive article description for subheading 3206.49.40, then, pursuant to GRI 3(a) and GRI 6, your product is properly classified under subheading 3206.49.10, and should be so classified under that subheading.

A review of heading 3206 shows that preparations based on iron oxides or based on zinc oxides are provided for in addition to preparations based on carbon black. (See subheadings 3206.49.20 and 3206.49.30 and 3206.49.40.) Thus, following your argument in the instant request for reconsideration (which essentially is that all coloring matter products containing carbon black are classified under subheading 3206.49.40 even if they contain plastic), all coloring matter products containing plastic, in whatever amount or ratio, and either carbon black or iron oxides or zinc oxides would necessarily always be excluded from classification under subheading 3206.49.10. In view of the above, however, the article description of subheading 3206.49.10 most clearly encompasses such products with greater specificity than the article description of any other subheading within heading 3206. Moreover, there exists no authority or basis in the HTSUSA or in the Explanatory Notes to the HTSUSA for the total exclusion of such coloring matter products from subheading 3206.49.10.


The goods are properly classified under subheading 3206.49.1000, HTSUSA, which provides for other coloring matter, other coloring matter and other preparations, other, concentrated dispersions of pigments in plastics materials. The rate of duty for goods imported under this subheading and receiving special tariff treatment under the United States-Canada Free-Trade Agreement is 3.5 percent ad valorem. The general rate of duty is 5.9 percent ad valorem.

In light of the above, NYRLs 846248 and 843411 are hereby affirmed.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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