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HQ 088282

March 21, 1991

CLA-2 CO:R:C:T 088282 CRS


TARIFF NO.: 6307.90.9590

Assistant District Director
U.S. Customs Service
Commercial Operations Division
Patrick V. MacNamara Building
477 Michigan Avenue
Detroit, MI 48266

RE: Further review of Protest No. 3801-0-001984; Paper and textile portions of paint strainer are equally important to functioning of the article; Essential character; GRI 3(b); GRI

Dear Sir:

This is in reply to a Protest and Application for Further Review (Protest No. 3801-0-001984) dated May 3, 1990, filed by C.J. Tower, Inc., on behalf of Arslan Automotive Canada, Ltd., concerning the classification of paint strainers under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA).


The imported merchandise is assembled from a piece of paper, roughly semicircular in form, which when folded and glued assumes the shape of a cone. Three triangular openings have been cut in the vertex of the cone and then covered with a piece of cotton mesh fabric measuring approximately 5 inches by 2 inches. At opposite points along the base of the cone, 180 apart, two small holes have been cut, presumably to allow the article to be fixed in position. The article is used to filter automobile paint before it is applied to a vehicle. Other uses for the product are stated to include use by hospitals for straining kidney stones in urine, and use by pharmaceutical companies for straining liquids and powders.

By weight, the instant paint strainer is 48 percent paper, 43 percent cotton and 9 percent glue. The cotton portion of the article performs the straining function while the paper provides support for the filter. Protestant argues, however, that the paper portion of the strainer is more important to the article than is the cotton since the latter could be replaced by any other straining material while the former has proven to be the only economical method of providing support for the straining material. On this basis protestant contends the article should be classified as an other article of paper of heading 4823, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA).


Whether the essential character of the instant merchandise is conferred by the paper or textile portions of the article.


Articles are classified under the HTSUSA in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRIs). Under GRI 1, articles are to be classified first 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.

Under GRI 2(b), goods consisting of more than one material are to be classified according to GRI 3. GRI 3(b) provides that composite goods consisting of different materials should be classified as if they consisted of the material which gives them their essential character. When goods cannot be classified pursuant to GRI 3(b), GRI 3(c) provides that they be classified under the heading which occurs last in numerical order among those which equally merit consideration.

Heading 4823, HTSUSA, provides for, inter alia, other articles of paper pulp, paper, paperboard, cellulose wadding or webs of cellulose fibers. Heading 6307, HTSUSA, provides for other made up (textile) articles. The subject merchandise is made from paper and cotton fabric. Both heading 4823 and heading 6307 are therefore prima facie applicable.

Headquarters Ruling Letter 555427 (HRL) dated December 13, 1989, concerned merchandise identical to that now at issue. There we stated in pertinent part:

The paper in this case forms a cone or funnel which directs the paint through the textile mesh at the bottom. The actual filtering of the paint is accomplished by the mesh portion of the device. Therefore, the essential character of the paint strainer cannot be ascertained as the paper and fabric are equally important in the functioning of the device.

We continue to adhere to this rationale. Accordingly, pursuant to GRI 3(c), the merchandise in question is classifiable under the heading which occurs last among those equally meriting consideration, in this case, heading 6307.


The protest should be denied. A copy of this ruling should be furnished to the protestant along with the Form 19 Notice of Action.

The paint strainer at issue is classifiable in subheading 6307.90.9590, HTSUSA, under the provision for other made up articles, including dress patterns; other; other; other; other; it is dutiable at the rate of 7 percent ad valorem.


John Durant, Director

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