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HQ 087857

December 18, 1990

CLA-1 CO:R:C:G 087857 KWM


TARIFF NO.: 4811.39.4040

Mr. F.R. Brown
Bonar Packaging Ltd.
P.O. Box 1050, Station T
Calgary, Alberta T2H 2J1

RE: Polycoated sugar pouch kraft; Printed matter; Coated paper; Plastics.

Dear Mr. Brown:

This is response to your inquiry dated August 15, 1990, requesting a tariff classification for "polycoated sugar pouch kraft." Your letter and samples of the product have been forwarded to this office for a response.


The subject goods are described as "polycoated sugar pouch kraft." They consist of rolls of paper used to manufacture sugar pouches. Your letter indicates that the paper may be imported plain, or may be printed and "slit to narrow widths as required by the customer." Roll lengths would be approximately 24,000 lineal feet.

The paper used here is kraft (see, Chapter Note 48-5, HTSUSA) which has been extrusion coated with a plastic, polyethylene. the polyethylene may be either clear or opaque.

Your letter describes the process as resin extruded as a "semi-molten film" from a slit die and bonded under pressure to a continuous moving sheet of kraft paper. Some of the product may be printed on one side with text and pictorial matter.


What is the classification of the goods under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated? LAW AND ANALYSIS:

Classification under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA) is made in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's). The systematic detail of the harmonized system is such that virtually all goods are classified by application of GRI 1, that is, according to the terms of the headings of the tariff schedule and any relevant Section or Chapter Notes. In the event that the goods cannot be classified solely on the basis
of GRI 1, and if the headings and legal notes do not otherwise require, the remaining GRI's may be applied, taken in order.

Imported without having been printed, the rolls of plastic coated paper clearly fall within the terms of subheading 4811.39, HTSUSA. which provides for:

4811 Paper, paperboard, cellulose wadding and webs of cellulose fibers, coated, impregnated, covered, surface-colored, surface-decorated or printed, in rolls or sheets, other than goods of heading 4803, 4809, 4810 or 4818:

Paper and paperboard, coated, impregnated or covered with plastics
(excluding adhesives):

4811.39 Other:

However, once the paper has been printed, it may fall within another of the tariff headings. Two issues are presented in deciding which heading properly provides for the goods: First, is the printing here "more than merely incidental to the primary use of the goods" as provided in Chapter Note 48-11, HTSUSA? Second, are the unfinished sugar pouches considered to be "containers" as provided for in the tariff schedule? We believe that the answer to both question is "no."

Chapter Note 48-11, HTSUSA, provides that articles printed with characters or pictorial representations which are not merely incidental to the primary use of the goods are classified as printed matter of Chapter 49, HTSUSA. The Explanatory Notes, which are the official interpretation of the tariff at the international level, indicate that an articles whose "essential nature and use" is determined by that fact of their having been printed are considered to be printed matter. In this case, the printing is not necessary to the goods primary use as sugar pouches. The fact that some rolls are imported blank substantiates that belief.

Having determined that the printed goods are not classified in Chapter 49, HTSUSA, we must determine whether or not they are "containers". We note first that the rolls of paper, in the form imported are incapable of containing anything. If they are classified in heading 4918, HTSUSA, it must be as an unassembled article. GRI 2(a) provides:

2. (a) Any reference in a heading to an article shall be taken to include a reference to that article incomplete or unfinished, provided that, as entered, the incomplete or unfinished article has the essential character of the complete or finished article. It shall also include a reference to that article complete or finished (or failing to be classified as complete or finished by virtue of this rule), entered unassembled or disassembled.

(Emphasis added). We do not believe that the instant rolls of paper, including those that have been printed, have the essential character of sugar pouches. We do not consider the printing to establish essential character by dedication of the
goods to the manufacture of sugar pouches. Nor do we consider the goods simply "unassembled." They must be further cut and processed before they can be considered dedicated to use as sugar pouches. The imported rolls of paper, either printed or plain, are simply raw material used in the manufacture of a final product after importation. They are classified the same with or without printing.


The instant goods, plastic coated kraft paper, imported in rolls either printed or plain, and used in the manufacture of sugar pouches, are classified in subheading 4811.39.4040, HTSUSA. Merchandise of this heading may be imported free of duty.


John A. Durant
Commercial Rulings Division

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