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HQ 087685

March 12, 1991

CLA-2 CO:R:C:F 087685 RFC


TARIFF NO.: 4811.39.4040

Ms. Loretta J. Evans
Customer Service
Arthur Fritz & Co.
P.O. Drawer G
Blaine, Washington 98230

RE: Modification of Headquarters Ruling Letter (HRL) 084716; coated paper

Dear Ms. Evans:

In HRL 084716, dated September 14, 1989, you were issued a tariff classification ruling under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA) for a textile-reinforced paper identified as "Lumberwrap Type I." In HRL 084716, Lumberwrap Type I was classified under heading 4823 of the HTSUSA. Upon review and reconsideration and for the reasons set forth below, we have determined that Lumberwrap Type I is properly classified under heading 4811 of the HTSUSA.


Lumberwrap Type I is a textile-reinforced paper used for packaging kiln-dried lumber. It consists of kraft paper that is surface coated on one side with polyethylene followed by a layer of woven polyolefin fibers (plastic textile scrim). (The polyethylene or plastic coating on the kraft paper acts as a binder for the scrim and imparts strength and moisture-resistance qualities to the kraft paper.)


What is the proper tariff classification under the HTSUSA of kraft paper that is surface coated on one side with plastic followed by a layer of plastic textile scrim?


Classification of merchandise under the HTSUSA is governed by the General Rules of Interpretation (GRIs). GRI 1 states, in part, that "for legal purposes, classification shall be determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes and..., [unless otherwise required, then according to the remaining GRIs, taken in numerical order]." When goods are, prima facie, classifiable under two or more headings, classification is to be effected pursuant to the provisions of GRI 3. GRI 3(b) states, in part, that "[m]ixtures [and] composite goods consisting of different materials or made up of different components...which cannot be classified by reference to 3(a)...[(i.e., there exists no heading that provides the most specific description among headings providing a more general description)], shall be classified as if they consisted of the material or component which gives them their essential character...." Explanatory Note Rule 3(b)(VIII) states, in part, that "[t]he factor which determines essential character will vary as between different kinds of goods. It may, for example, be determined by the nature of the material or component, its bulk, quantity, weight or value, or the role of a constituent material in relation to the use of the goods."

In the instant case, the product is a composite good consisting of plastic coated kraft paper and a plastic textile scrim. The plastic coated kraft paper is classified under heading 4811 as paper coated with plastics; and the plastic textile scrim is classified under heading 5407 as woven fabrics of synthetic filament yarn. As both of these headings provide for articles of which the instant product is composed, the product is, prima facie, classifiable under both of these headings. GRI 3(b), therefore, is applicable to the instant classification analysis.

As imported, the product is merely a paper packaging material for industrial use. The consistency and moisture- resistant properties of the coated kraft paper is what gives the product its commercial appeal as a packaging material. On the other hand, the scrim is merely included as a component to give the paper added support, and the scrim does not impart the above-mentioned qualities to the product that the paper does. Therefore, the role of the coated kraft paper in relation to the use of the product gives the product it essential character. The instant product, thus, must be classified as if consisting of the coated kraft paper, pursuant to GRI 3(b).


The paper identified above as Lumberwrap Type I is classified under subheading 4811.39.4040, HTSUSA, which provides for paper and paperboard coated, impregnated or covered with plastics, other, other, other. Products classified under this subheading may be entered free of duty.

In light of the above, HRL 084716 is hereby modified as it concerns the tariff classification of the paper product identified therein as Lumberwrap Type I. See 19 C.F.R. 177.9(d).

In order to insure uniformity in Customs' classification of this merchandise and to eliminate uncertainty, we are modifying HRL 084716 to reflect the above classification effective as of the date of this letter. If after review of this modification, you disagree with the legal basis for our decision, we invite you to submit any arguments that you may have with respect to this matter for our review. Your arguments should be received by this office within thirty (30) days of the date of this letter.

As indicated above, this notice should be considered a modification of HRL 084716 under 19 CFR 177.9(d)(1). It will not be applied retroactively to HRL 084716 (19 CFR 177.9(d)(2)) and will not, therefore, affect past transactions for the importation of the merchandise under that ruling. HRL 084716 will not, however, be valid precedent for future transactions to the extent it has been modified by this letter. We recognize that pending transactions may be adversely affected by this modification, in that current contracts for importations arriving at a port subsequent to this decision will be classified pursuant to it. If such a situation arises, your client may, at its discretion, notify this office and apply for relief from the binding effects of this decision as may be warranted by the circumstances. Please be advised, however, that in some instances involving import restraints, such relief any require separate approvals from other government agencies.


John Durant, Director

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