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HQ 089198

October 30, 1991

CLA-2 CO:R:C:T 089198 HP


TARIFF NO.: 8421.99.0080

Mr. Thomas C. Lloyd
Customs Administrator
Customs/Import 3M Transportation Dept.
3M Center
P.O. Box 33250
St. Paul, MN 55133

RE: Filtration cartridge for liquid magnetic dispersion of video tape coating, of textiles, plastics, and glass, is a part of filtering machinery, not a textile article for technical uses.

Dear Mr. Lloyd:

This is in reply to your letter of March 8, 1991, to our New York office. That letter concerned the tariff classification, under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA), of filter cartridges, produced in Japan.


The merchandise at issue consists of an "HT Filter Cartridge." The cartridge comes in both 10" and 30" lengths, are cylindrical in shape, and are available in several micron ratings. The filter cartridge is constructed, from outside in, of an outer tube of polyethylene (plastics), pre-filter media of polypropylene (textiles), filter media of polypropylene (textiles), filter media of fiberglass (glass), inner tube of polypropylene (plastics), and a support mesh of polypropylene. A foamed gasket of polyethylene (plastics) is placed on both ends of the cartridge.

The filters are used in the manufacturing (coating) process of video tape. They filter liquid magnetic dispersion. The filter cartridge fits inside a filter housing. You have suggested that the filter cartridge should be classified under subheading 5911.90.0000, HTSUSA, as a textile article for technical uses.


Whether the filter cartridge is correctly classified as a part of filtering machinery or as a textile article for technical uses?


Heading 8421, HTSUSA, provides for, inter alia, filtering or purifying machinery and apparatus, for liquids or gases, and parts thereof. The Explanatory Notes (EN) to the HTSUSA
constitute the official interpretation of the tariff at the international level. While not legally binding, they do represent the considered views of classification experts of the Harmonized System Committee. It has therefore been the practice of the Customs Service to follow, whenever possible, the terms of the Explanatory Notes when interpreting the HTSUSA. The EN to this heading states that
the heading covers filters and purifiers of all types (physical or mechanical, chemical, magnetic, electro-magnetic, electrostatic, etc.).


Subject to the general provisions regarding parts (see the General
Explanatory Note to Section XVI), the heading covers parts for the above- mentioned types of filters and purifiers.

The filter cartridge is apparently classifiable in heading 8421, HTSUSA. Note 1(e) to Section XVI, HTSUSA, however, excludes from classification therein "articles of textile materials for technical uses (heading 5911)."

Heading 5911, HTSUSA, provides for articles of textile materials for technical uses.

The textile products and articles of this heading present particular characteristics which identify them as being for use in various types of machinery, apparatus, equipment or instruments or as tools or parts of tools.

The heading includes, in particular, those textile articles which are excluded from other headings and directed to heading 59.11 by any specific provision of the Nomenclature (for example Note 1(e) to Section XVI)....

The textile articles of this heading may incorporate accessories in other material provided the articles remain essentially articles of textile.

Continuing the rationale of the closing sentence, if the nontextile portions of the filter cartridge cause the cartridge to no longer essentially remain a textile article, the Note 1(e) exclusion from Section XVI, HTSUSA, would not apply.

The textile portions of the filter cartridge comprise the "pre-filter media" and the "filter media." The fiberglass portion comprises the "main filter media." The drawing accompanying your submission notes that the single fiberglass
filter media is layered between the textile pre-filter and filter media. "But there are other types [of filter cartridges] which two or three fiber glasses are layered. That is due to the micron grade."

It is clear from examination of the sample and accompanying literature, and consultations with our Office of Laboratories & Scientific Services, that the fiberglass filter media serves a function at least as important as the textile filter media. Both impart critical filtering properties at the various stages of the liquid magnetic dispersion process. It is our opinion, therefore, that the filter cartridge is not essentially an article of textile, Note 1(e) to Section XVI, HTSUSA, does not apply.

As we stated above, heading 8421, HTSUSA, provides for, inter alia, parts of filtering machinery. Note 1(c) to Chapter 84, HTSUSA, excludes from Chapter 84, inter alia, machinery, appliances or other articles for technical uses or parts thereof, of glass. Therefore, if the filter cartridge is considered an "article of glass," it is not classifiable in heading 8421, HTSUSA.

The EN to Chapter 84, HTSUSA, enlightens us as to the intended application of Note 1(c) to Chapter 84, by stating:

Since ... machinery and appliances and parts thereof, of glass (heading 70.19 or 70.20) are excluded from this Chapter, it follows that even if a machine or mechanical appliance is covered, because of its description or nature, by a heading in this Chapter it is not to be classified therein if it has the character of an article of ... glass.

This applies, for example, to machines, mechanical appliances or apparatus of ... glass, incorporating components of minor importance of other materials, such as stoppers, joints, taps, etc., clamping or tightening bands or collars or other fixing or supporting devices (stands, tripods, etc.).

On the other hand, the following are, as a rule, to be taken to have lost the character of ... machinery or appliances and parts thereof, of ... glass:

(i) Combinations of ... glass components with a high proportion of other materials (e.g., of metal); also articles consisting of a high proportion of ... glass components incorporated or permanently mounted in frames, cases or the like, of other materials.

Following this explanation, the filter cartridge clearly has lost the character of an article of glass. Not only is the cartridge a combination of glass with a high proportion of
other materials (textiles and plastics), the fiberglass filter media is incorporated within the hard plastic out tube and foamed gaskets. The exclusion described by Note 1(c) to Chapter 84, HTSUSA, is therefore not applicable, and the merchandise is correctly classifiable in heading 8421.


As a result of the foregoing, the instant merchandise is classified under subheading 8421.99.0080, HTSUSA, as centrifuges, including centrifugal dryers; filtering or purifying machinery and apparatus, for liquids or gases; parts thereof, parts, other, other. The applicable rate of duty is 3.9 percent ad valorem.

A copy of this ruling letter should be attached to the entry documents filed at the time this merchandise is imported. If the documents have been filed without a copy, this ruling should be brought to the attention of the Customs officer handling the transaction.


John Durant, Director

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