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HQ 089246

September 17, 1991

CLA-2 CO:R:C:T 089246 CRS


TARIFF NO.: 4805.60.9040

J.W. Hendricks
Traffic Manager
Special Papers, Inc.
600 West Putnam Avenue
Greenwich, CT 06830

RE: Addition of melamine to paper pulp at the furnish does not constitute an impregnation; application of animal glue is not a coating.

Dear Mr. Hendricks:

This is in reply to your letter dated February 27, 1991, to our New York office, concerning the classification of currency paper under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA). A sample was provided.


The merchandise in question is a white, cotton pulp paper, approximately 90.4 g/m in weight and 0.015 mm thick. The paper, which is used to make currency, is watermarked and contains bands of metallic security threads and colored fluorescent fibers. The pulp is treated with melamine during the furnishing stage, i.e., at the point when various materials, including pulp, are blended in a stock suspension from which the finished paper is made. The finished paper is treated with a moisture resistant glue. The paper will be imported in rectangular sheets, all of which will exceed 15 cm by 36 cm in size, and will contain a small notch on one side which serves to indicate the front of the paper from the back. The sample paper measures 66 x 80 cm.


Whether the paper in question is coated or impregnated for tariff purposes.


Heading 4811, HTSUSA, provides for, inter alia, paper, coated, impregnated or covered, in rolls or sheets. Subheading 4811.31 provides for paper and paperboard coated, impregnated or covered with plastics. Melamine, a plastics substance, has been added to the instant paper at the pulp as part of the furnish before the formation of the paper web. The term "impregnation" refers to the process of treating a sheet or web of paper with a liquid. The Dictionary of Paper 223 (4th ed. 1980). Melamine is added to the instant paper at the furnish, that is, to the stock suspension before the web is formed. Id. at 194. Consequently, it is Customs' opinion that the instant paper is not impregnated for the purposes of heading 4811, HTSUSA.

The paper has also been treated with a water resistant glue. However, according to the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System, Explanatory Notes, glue is used in the finishing process, e.g., as a surface sizing, or as a binding agent for a coating material such as barium sulphate or zinc oxide, rather than as a coating. General Explanatory Note (EN), Chapter 48, at 666. Thus Customs does not consider the paper in question to be coated for tariff purposes.

Heading 4802, HTSUSA, provides for, inter alia, uncoated paper and paperboard, of a kind used for writing, printing and other graphic purposes. Certain security paper used for cheques, stamps, banknotes and the like is included within the heading. EN 48.02(B)(9), 670. In order to be classified in this heading, however, paper weighing not more than 150 g/m must meet the requirements of Note 4(a)-(e), Chapter 48, HTSUSA. The instant paper weighs 92 g/m; nevertheless, because it has an ash content of 3 percent, a brightness of 80.2 percent, and a burst index of 5.8 kPa/g/m, it fails to meet any of the criteria set forth in the Note. Accordingly, the currency paper at issue is not classifiable in heading 4802.

Heading 4805, HTSUSA, provides for other uncoated paper and paperboard, in rolls or sheets.

This heading covers machine-made uncoated papers and paperboards as manufactured in the form of rolls or sheets...other than those included in headings 48.01 to 48.02. It excludes, however, certain special papers and paperboards or special products (headings 48.06 to 48.08 and headings 48.12 to 48.16) and paper and paperboard which have been subjected to processes other than those permitted in Note 2, for example, coated or impregnated paper or paperboard (headings 48.09 to 48.11).

The paper at issue is an uncoated paper imported in sheets and is not covered by headings 4801 or 4802. Since it is not otherwise excluded, it is prima facie classifiable in heading 4805.

Note 7, Chapter 48, HTSUSA, limits the scope of certain headings, including heading 4805, to paper in strips or rolls of a width exceeding 15 cm; or in rectangular (including square) sheets with one side exceeding 36 cm and the other side exceeding 15 cm in its unfolded state. The paper at issue will be imported in rectangular sheets, all of which will exceed 15 cm x 36 cm in size. Although the paper has a small notch on one side and is therefore not perfectly rectangular, Customs regards the notch as de minimis. Consequently, Note 7 does not exclude the instant paper from heading 4805.


The currency paper at issue is classifiable in subheading 4805.60.9040, HTSUSA, under the provision for other uncoated paper and paperboard, in rolls or sheets; other paper and paperboard, weighing 150 g/m or less; other; weighing over 30 g/m; other. The paper is dutiable at the rate of 4 percent ad valorem.


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