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HQ 087270

September 21, 1990

CLA-2 CO:R:C:G 087270


TARIFF NO.: 4811.39.4000; 4811.90.6000; 4811.90.8000

District Director of Customs
300 South Ferry Street
Terminal Island
San Pedro, CA 90731

RE: Request for Internal Advice 38/90; decorative paper overlay not a distinct class of merchandise at the subheading level and classification will vary accordingly.

Dear Sir:

This is in reply to your Request for Internal Advice 38/90 dated April 2, 1990, concerning the classification of coated and uncoated printed decorative paper overlay under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA). The request was initiated by Castelazo & Associates on behalf of Plywood Panels, Inc. Samples of the merchandise were provided.


The merchandise in question consists of twelve types of printed decorative paper, also known as decorative paper overlay. The paper is manufactured in Japan by Dai Nippon Printing Co., Ltd., Chiyoda Gravure Printing Co., Ltd., Toppan Printing Co., Ltd., and Dai Nippon Ink and Chemicals, Inc., and is being imported in 50 inch width rolls through several ports, including Los Angeles. The samples consist of three types of paper 23G, one type 28G, four type 30G, two type 35G, one type 50G and one type 60G.

The paper is used in the manufacture of decorative wall paneling and is applied to plywood by means of a lamination process. The paper ranges in weight from 28-29 g/m to 70-72 g/m, and in thickness from 34-36 microns to 180-190 microns. In all cases, the total fiber weight consists of wood fibers obtained by a chemical sulphate or soda process. Ten of the papers are coated on one side with polyurethane; two are uncoated. Most of the papers are printed to simulate wood grain; however, others are solid colored or have floral patterns.


Whether decorative paper overlay is classifiable in heading 4811, HTSUSA; whether similar uncoated paper is classifiable in subheading 4811.90.6000 or 4811.90.8000, HTSUSA.


Heading 4811, HTSUSA, covers paper..., coated, impregnated, covered, surface-colored, surface-decorated or printed, in rolls or sheets, other than goods of heading 4803, 4809, 4810 or 4818. Note 7, Chapter 48, HTSUSA, limits the application of heading 4811 to, inter alia, paper in strip or rolls of a width exceeding 15 cm. As the decorative paper at issue is imported in 50 inch (127 cm) wide rolls, the instant paper is classifiable in heading 4811 provided that it is described by the terms of the heading.

Ten of the twelve sample papers have been coated with polyurethane, i.e., with plastic. The two remaining types of overlay paper are uncoated; nevertheless, heading 4811 provides for printed paper as well as for coated paper. Consequently, all twelve decorative overlay papers are embraced by the terms of heading 4811.

However, concern has been expressed that the classification of overlay paper has varied with the port of entry. Although heading 4811 covers a variety of articles including, for example, printed and surface-colored paper, there is no specific provision at the subheading level for papers of this description. Consequently, at the subheading level, the two uncoated papers are classifiable under the residual provision of heading 4811 (subheading 4811.90). In addition, coated papers are themselves classifiable in different subheadings dependent upon the substances with which they are coated. Since overlay paper is not a distinct class of merchandise it is therefore to be expected that classification will vary at the subheading level.


The plastic (polyurethane) coated decorative paper overlays are classifiable in subheading 4811.39.4000, HTSUSA, under the provision for paper and paperboard, coated, impregnated or covered with plastics..., other, other, other, and is free of duty.

The uncoated decorative overlay papers are classifiable in subheading 4811.90, dependent on their weight. Type 23G, which is described by the importer as not coated with inorganic substance, printed, uncoated paper, weighing 25-26 g/m, is classifiable in subheading 4811.90.6000, HTSUSA, under the provision for other paper, paperboard, cellulose wadding and webs of cellulose fibers, other, other, other, weighing over 15 g/m but not over 30 g/m and is free of duty.

Type 35G paper, which is described as not coated with inorganic substance, printed, uncoated paper, weighing 37-39 g/m, is classifiable in subheading 4811.90.8000, HTSUSA, under the provision for other paper..., other, other, other, weighing over 30 g/m, and is dutiable at the rate of 2 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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