United States International Trade Commision Rulings And Harmonized Tariff Schedule
faqs.org  Rulings By Number  Rulings By Category  Tariff Numbers
faqs.org > Rulings and Tariffs Home > Rulings By Number > 1991 HQ Rulings > HQ 0088144 - HQ 0088232 > HQ 0088195

Previous Ruling Next Ruling

HQ 088195

March 9, 1991

CLA-2 CO:R:C:T 088195 CRS


TARIFF NO.: 5703.20.2010

Ms. Marty Langtry
Castelazo & Associates
5420 West 104th Street
Los Angeles, CA 90045

RE: Tufted carpet tiles with nonwoven backing not classifiable as a floor covering of felt; EN 57.03; EN 57.04.

Dear Ms. Langtry:

This is in reply to your letter dated October 17, 1990, to our New York office, on behalf of your client, Dan Butler & Associates, concerning the classification of carpet tiles under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA). Sample swatches of the carpet tile were included with your submission.


The merchandise in question is carpet tile consisting of 60 percent nylon, 40 percent rayon fibers needlepunched into a primary backing of nonwoven material. In the finishing process a secondary backing of bitumen is applied to the nonwoven material. The carpet tile is manufactured in Germany and is described as a heavy duty article to be used in "high traffic locations where other carpet would wear too quickly." The individual tiles measure 50 centimeters by 50 centimeters.

You contend that the carpet tile is classifiable in heading 5704, HTSUSA, in view of the fact that it is made by needling staple fibers through a base of textile fabric that is ultimately hidden by the fibers themselves.


Whether the instant carpet tile is classifiable in heading 5704, HTSUSA, as an article of felt, or whether it is instead classifiable in heading 5703, HTSUSA, as a tufted floor covering.


Articles are classified under the HTSUSA in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRIs). GRI 1 provides that the classification of articles is determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes and, provided the headings or notes do not otherwise require, according to the remaining GRIs taken in order.

Heading 5704, HTSUSA, provides for carpets and other floor coverings, of felt, not tufted or flocked, whether or not made up. However, as the instant carpet tile is tufted it is not classifiable in heading 5704, HTSUSA. Furthermore, while the carpet tile has a nonwoven base, Customs does not consider it to be "of felt" such that it would be classifiable in heading 5704.

Heading 5703, HTSUSA, provides for carpets and other floor coverings, tufted, whether or not made up. The Explanatory Notes (EN), although not legally binding, constitute the official interpretation of the Harmonized System at the international level. EN 57.03, 788, states with regard to heading 5703:

This heading covers tufted carpets and other tufted textile floor coverings produced on tufting machines which, by means of a system of needles and hooks, insert textile yarn into a pre-existing backing (usually a woven fabric or a nonwoven) thus producing loops, or, if the needles and hooks are combined with a cutting device, tufts. The yarns forming the pile are then normally fixed by a coating of rubber or plastics. Usually before the coating is allowed to dry it is either covered by a secondary backing of loosely woven textile material, e.g., jute, or by foamed rubber.

Products of this heading are distinguished from the tufted textile fabrics of heading 58.02 by, for example, their stiffness, thickness and strength, which render them suitable for use as floor coverings.

The carpet tile at issue is tufted and is manufactured by means of a system of needles and hooks that insert textile yarn into a nonwoven backing. The yarns are tufted. Consequently, it is classifiable in heading 5703, HTSUSA.


The carpet tile in question is classifiable in subheading 5703.20.2010, HTSUSA, under the provision for carpets and other textile floor coverings, tufted ..., of nylon or other polyamides, other, measuring not more than 5.25 m in area, and is dutiable at the rate of 7.6 percent ad valorem. The carpet tile is subject to textile quota category 665.

The designated textile and apparel category may be subdivided into parts. If so, visa and quota requirements applicable to the subject merchandise may be affected. Since part categories are the result of international bilateral agreements which are subject to frequent renegotiations and changes, to obtain the most current information available, we suggest that you check, close to the time of shipment, the Status Report on Current Import Quotas (Restraint Levels), an internal issuance of the U.S. Customs Service, which is available for inspection at your local Customs office.

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.


Previous Ruling Next Ruling

See also: