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HQ 084688

August 17, 1989

CLA-2 CO:R:C:G 084688 HP


TARIFF NO.: 5903.20.3000

Mr. Charles Merendino
Mersant International Ltd.
158-12 Rockaway Blvd.
Jamaica, NY 11434

RE: Classification of certain laminated fabric

Dear Mr. Merendino:

This is in reply to your letter of April 19, 1989, concerning the tariff classification of Wale fabric, under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA). It is assumed that the merchandise is being imported from a country eligible for General Column 1 rates.


The merchandise at issue is a sample of fabric named "Wale." It is a three-ply fabric composed of 70 percent wool, 25 percent polyester, and 5 percent other fibers. You state that the wool/polyester ply is kist bonded to a pre-existing sheet of plastics (polyurethane foam), with an under layer of nylon knit tricot.


Whether the fabric is laminated with plastics for classification purposes under the HTSUSA?


Heading 5903, HTSUSA, provides for textile fabrics impregnated, coated, covered or laminated with plastics, other than tire cord fabrics. The General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's) to the HTSUSA govern the classification of goods in the tariff schedule. Goods which cannot be classified in accordance with GRI 1 are to be classified in accordance with subsequent GRI's, taken in order.

GRI 1 states, in pertinent part:

... classification shall be determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes ....

Note 2 of Chapter 59, HTSUSA, provides, in pertinent part:

Heading No. 59.03 applies to:

(a) Textile fabrics, impregnated, coated, covered or laminated with plastics, ... 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 of colour; * * *

The wording of Note 2(a)(1) ("cannot be seen with the naked eye") is a clear expression by the drafters of the Harmonized System that a significant, if not substantial, amount of material must be added to a fabric for it to be considered "impregnated, coated, covered or laminated. The plastics material added to the fabric must be visibly distinguishable from that fabric without the use of magnification.

Applying the statutory test to the submitted samples, using normally corrected vision in a well lighted room, it is our opinion that the subject merchandise meets the requirements for classification in Heading 5903, HTSUSA.

The upper layer of the merchandise is composed of a wool/polyester blend, while the bottom layer is of nylon tricot. GRI 3 states, in pertinent part:

When by application of Rule 2(b) [goods of more than one material or substance] or for any other reason, goods are, prima facie, classifiable under two or more headings, classification shall be effected as follows:

(b) Mixtures, composite goods consisting of different materials or made up of different components, and goods put up in sets for retail sale, which cannot be classified by reference to 3(a) [which requires that goods be classified, if possible, under the more specific of the competing provisions], shall be classified as if they consisted of the material or component which gives them their essential character, insofar as this criterion is applicable.

In this instance, the essential character is clearly imparted by the wool/polyester blend fabric.

The upper layer of the merchandise, previously determined as imparting the essential character of the article, is composed of a blend of materials. Subheading Note 2 to Section XI, HTSUSA, provides:

(A) Products of chapters 56 to 63 containing two or more textile materials are to be regarded as consisting wholly of that textile material which would be selected under note 2 to this section for the classification of a product of chapters 50 to 55 consisting of the same textile materials.

(B) For the application of this rule:

(a) Where appropriate, only the part which determines the classification under general interpretative rule 3 shall be taken into account.

Note 2(A) to Section XI, HTSUSA, provides:

Goods classifiable in chapters 50 to 55 or in heading 5809 or 5902 and of a mixture of two or more textile materials are to be classified as if consisting wholly of that one textile material which predominates by weight over each other single textile material.

Ergo, classification of the merchandise is determined by the fiber which predominates by weight in the fabric which imparts the article's essential character.


The merchandise at issue is classifiable under subheading 5903.20.3000, as textile fabrics impregnated, coated, covered or laminated with plastics, other than those of heading 5902, with polyurethane, other. The applicable rate of duty is 5.3 percent ad valorem.

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 importing the merchandise to determine the current applicability of any import restraints or requirements.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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