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 0088771 - HQ 0088914 > HQ 0088909

Previous Ruling Next Ruling

HQ 088909

April 22, 1991

CLA-2 CO:R:C:T 088909 CMR


TARIFF NO.: 3921.12.1100; 3921.12.1500

Ms. Elaine G. Ponce
Homemaker Industries, Inc.
295 5th Avenue
New York, New York 10016

RE: Revocation of HRL 086551 of May 10, 1990; Classification of a stay put rug pad

Dear Ms. Ponce:

This ruling is to inform you that an error was made in HRL 086551 issued to you by this office on May 10, 1990, and classifying a stay put rug pad.


In HRL 086551, the merchandise in question, a stay put rug pad, was classified as a floor covering of plastic in subheading 3918.10.1050, HTSUSA. Upon reexamination of the issue of what is a floor covering, we believe that the rug pad is not a floor covering within the common meaning of that term.


Was the stay put rug pad of HRL 086551 properly classified as a floor covering in subheading 3918.10.1050, HTSUSA?


Classification of goods under the HTSUSA is governed by the General Rules of Interpretation (GRIs). GRI 1 provides that "classification shall be determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes, provided such headings or notes do not otherwise require, according to [the remaining GRIs taken in order]."

The Explanatory Notes, which are the official interpretation of the HTS at the international level, provide some guidance in deciding under which heading the subject rug pad should be classified.

Heading 3918 provides for, among other things, floor coverings of plastics, whether or not self-adhesive, in rolls or in the form of tiles. The Explanatory Notes for the heading state in pertinent part:

The first part of the heading covers plastics of the types normally used as floor coverings, in rolls or in the form of tiles. It should be noted that self-adhesive floor coverings are classified in this heading.

It should be noted that this heading includes articles printed with motifs, characters or pictorial representa- tions, which are not merely incidental to the primary use of the goods * * *.

Heading 3921 provides for other plates, sheets, film, foil and strip, of plastics. The Explanatory Notes for the heading state in pertinent part:

This heading covers plates, sheets, film, foil and strip, of plastics, other than those of heading 39.18, 39.19 or 39.20 or of Chapter 54. It therefore covers only cellular products or those which have been reinforced, laminated, supported or similarly combined with other materials. * * *

In order to determine which heading most specifically describes the rug pad, we must decide if it may be considered a floor covering.

Although the rug pad covers flooring when used under a rug, we do not believe it falls within the common meaning of floor coverings. Floor coverings are commonly thought to be articles such as carpets, rugs, mats, tiles, etc. These are articles which cover a floor area and which are open to view. The rug pad, on the other hand, is not seen, but is under the perceived floor covering, i.e. the rug. Therefore, we do not believe the rug pad is encompassed within the common meaning of floor covering.


The stay put rug pad at issue is classified in subheading 3921.12, HTSUSA, which provides for other plates, sheets, film,
foil and strip, of cellular plastics, of polymers of vinyl chloride, combined with textile materials. The rug pad is either classified in subheading 3921.12.1100, HTSUSA, as over 70 percent by weight of plastics, or 3921.12.1500, HTSUSA, if not over 70 percent by weight of plastics. If classified in 3921.12.1100, HTSUSA, the rug pad is subject to a 4.2 percent rate of duty; if classified in 3921.12.1500, HTSUSA, the rug pad is subject to a 8.5 percent rate of duty and textile category 229.

In order to insure uniformity in Customs classification of this merchandise and eliminate uncertainty, we are revoking HRL 086551 of May 10, 1990, to reflect the above classification effective with the date of this letter. However, if after your review of this ruling letter, you disagree with the legal basis for our decision, we invite you to submit any arguments you might have with respect to this matter for our review. Any submission you wish to make should be received within 30 days of the date of this letter.

This notice to you should be considered a revocation of HRL 086551 under 19 CFR 177.9(d)(1). It is not to be applied retroactively to HRL 086551 (19 CFR 177.9(d)(2)) and will not, therefore, affect past transactions for the importation of your merchandise under that ruling. However, for the purposes of future transactions in merchandise of this type, HRL 086551 will not be valid precedent. We recognize that pending transactions may be adversely affected by this revocation in that current contracts for importation arriving at a port subsequent to this decision will be classified pursuant to it. If such a situation arises, you may, at your discretion, notify this office and may apply for relief from the binding effects of this decision as may be warranted by the circumstances. However, please be advised that in some instances involving import restraints, such relief may require separate approvals from other government agencies.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

Previous Ruling Next Ruling

See also: