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HQ 950931

April 24, 1992

CLA-2 CO:R:C:T 950931 CRS


TARIFF NO.: 5407.20.0000

David R. Amerine, Esq.
Brownstein Zeidman & Schomer
Suite 900
1401 New York Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20005-2102

RE: Woven sheeting material; strip; coated with plastics; Note 2, Chapter 59; visible to the naked eye.

Dear Mr. Amerine:

This is in reply to your letter dated December 27, 1991, on behalf of Calsak Corporation, in which you requested a tariff classification ruling under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA).


The merchandise at issue is a woven sheeting material made from clear, 1,000 denier polyethylene strip with a 10 x 10 count. The sheeting material has been coated on both sides with white polyethylene plastics with a thickness of 30 microns.


The issue presented is whether the plastic coating applied to the sheeting material in question is visible to the naked eye such that the material is classifiable for tariff purposes as a coated fabric.


Two headings are potentially applicable to the instant merchandise: heading 5903, HTSUSA, which provides for textile fabrics impregnated, coated, covered or laminated with plastics, other than those of heading 5902; and heading 5407, which covers woven fabrics of synthetic filament yarn, including woven fabrics obtained from materials of heading 5404.

The scope of heading 5903, however, is restricted by Note 2, Chapter 59, HTSUSA, which provides in relevant part that heading 5903 applies to:

(a) Textile fabrics, impregnated, coated, covered or laminated with plastics, whatever the weight per square meter and whatever the nature of the plastic material (compact or cellular), other than:

(1) Fabrics in which the impregnation, coating or covering cannot be seen with the naked eye (usually chapters 50 to 55, 58 or 60); for the purpose of this provision, no account should be taken of any resulting change in color....

The woven strip fabric in question has been coated with plastics; however, the coating cannot be seen by the naked eye. While the application of the plastics coating has altered the appearance of the strip from a clear to a white finish, Note 2(a), Chapter 59 specifically directs that changes in color should be ignored in determining whether a fabric is coated for tariff purposes.

In Headquarters Ruling Letter (HRL) 085350 dated March 2, 1990, we stated that:

There is no indication in the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System, Explanatory Notes, which is the official interpretation of the HTSUSA at the international level, on how the "naked eye" test should be applied. Accordingly, it is Customs (sic) position that, in the absence of legislative intent, the plain meaning of the statutory language will be given effect. If what the unaided eye perceives when viewing a fabric with a plastics application is nothing more than what would be perceived if a dye had been applied to the fabric, then the fabric is not coated for purposes of Note 2 of Chapter 59. However, if the unaided eye perceives the existence of an added substance, then that substance qualifies as a "coating or covering" within the purview of Note 2, provided that the plastics is spread over the entire surface of the fabric.

Here the application of a white plastics coating is akin to a dye; it is no more visible than the clear coatings which have previously been the subject of rulings issued by this office. E.g., HRL 950542 dated March 2, 1992; HRL 088313 dated August 2, 1991; HRL 087388 dated October 5, 1990; HRL 087250; and HRL 086644 dated June 1, 1990. Furthermore, the coating has not obscured the underlying weave of the fabric nor is it visible under magnification. Accordingly, it is Customs' view that the strip fabric in question is not coated for tariff purposes.


The merchandise in question is classifiable in subheading 5407.20.0000, HTSUSA, under the provision for woven fabric of synthetic filament yarn, including woven fabrics obtained from materials of heading 5404: woven fabrics obtained from strip and the like. It is dutiable at the rate of 17 percent ad valorem and subject to textile category 620.

The designated textile 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, in order to obtain the most current information available we suggest that your client 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 client's 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.


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