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HQ 087487

November 15, 1990

CLA-2 CO:R:C:G 087487 WAW


TARIFF NO.: 3919.90.5060

Ms. Sharon Roach
Nippon Express U.S.A., Inc.
2051-A Boston Drive
College Park, GA 30337

RE: Printed Labels for Batteries

Dear Ms. Roach:

This letter is in response to your inquiry, dated May 31, 1990, on behalf of your client, Matsushita Ultra-Tech Battery Corporation (MUTEC), requesting the tariff classification of printed labels for batteries under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA). A sample of the merchandise was submitted along with your request.


The sample labels consist of three sheets of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastic material. The first PVC sheet has a layer of aluminum which is layered by vacuum metallizing on PVC tubes. The second PVC sheet, with printing, is laminated on top of the base sheet. A third sheet of PVC film forms the top layer. An acrylate adhesive is applied beneath one sheet of PVC film. The labels are placed onto a backing of kraft paper with silicon, from which they can be peeled off. After importation, these shrinkable labels will be used to form the outer jackets of cylindrical alkaline batteries. The manufacturer of these labels is a West German company named Zweckform. The labels will be imported by Matsushita Ultra-Tech Battery Corporation.


Whether the printed labels for batteries are classified as parts of primary cells and primary batteries under subheading 8506.90.0000, HTSUSA, or rather as self-adhesive plates, sheets, film, foil. . . whether or not in rolls. . . other under subheading 3919.90.5060, HTSUSA.


The General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's) set forth the manner in which merchandise is to be classified under the HTSUSA. 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, according to the remaining GRI's, taken in order.

At issue in this case is whether the printed labels for batteries should be classified under subheading 3919.90.5060, HTSUSA, or rather under subheading 8506.90.0000, HTSUSA. Subheading 3919.90.5060, HTSUSA, provides for self-adhesive plates, sheets, film, foil, tape, strip and other flat shapes, of plastics, whether or not in rolls: Other: Other: Other. Subheading 8506.90.0000, HTSUSA, provides for parts of primary cells and primary batteries.

The Explanatory Notes constitute the official interpretation of the tariff at the international level. The Explanatory Notes to Heading 3919, HTSUSA, state the following:

This heading covers all self-adhesive flat shapes of plastics, whether or not in rolls, other than floor, wall or ceiling coverings of heading 39.18. The heading is, however, limited to flat shapes which are pressure-sensitive, i.e., which at room temperature, without wetting or other addition, are permanently tacky (on one or both sides) and which firmly adhere to a variety of dissimilar surfaces upon mere contact, without the need for more than finger or hand pressure.

The sample printed label falls within the above Heading 3919, HTSUSA, since it meets the definition of a self-adhesive flat shape made of plastic. However, there is an exclusion in the Explanatory Notes to Chapter 39 for Articles of Section XVI which includes articles such as primary cells and primary batteries and parts and accessories thereof. Thus, if the labels are more specifically provided for in Chapter 85 as a part or accessory of a primary battery, then they are excluded from classification in Chapter 39 and classification is proper in subheading 8506.90.0000, HTSUSA.

Additional U.S. Rule of Interpretation 1(c) provides that in the absence of special language or context which requires otherwise, "a provision for parts of an article covers products solely or principally used as a part of such articles but a provision for 'parts' or 'parts and accessories' shall not prevail over a specific provision for such part or accessory".

Generally, an article is a part if it meets the following criteria:

(1) Must be combined with other articles to be used; or

(2) Must be an integral, constituent or component part, without which the article to which it is joined could not function; or

(3) Lends to the safe and efficient operation of the article; and

(4) Must be identifiable by shape or other characteristics as an article solely or principally used as a part.

In the instant case, it is clear that the printed labels are attached primarily for decorative and protective purposes and do comprise an integral or constituent component essential to the operation of the battery. It is our determination, therefore, that the printed labels do not qualify as "parts" for tariff purposes and that they are more specifically provided for as "self-adhesive flat shapes, of plastics" in subheading 3919.90.5060, HTSUSA.


Based on the foregoing analysis, it is the determination of this office that the sample printed labels which are used as outer jackets for cylindrical alkaline batteries, are properly classified under subheading 3919.90.5060, HTSUSA, which provides for self-adhesive plates, sheets, film, foil, tape, strip and other flat shapes, of plastics, whether or not in rolls: Other: Other. Articles classified under this subheading are subject to a rate of duty of 5.8 percent ad valorem.


John Durant, Director

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