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HQ 084804

June 27, 1989

CLA-2 CO:R:C:G 084804 HP


TARIFF NO.: 5407.10.00

Mr. Jack B. Waddick
Samsonite Corporation
Twin Plants
P.O. Box 1116
Nogales, Arizona 85628

RE: Classification of luggage exterior body fabrics

Dear Mr. Waddick:

This is in reply to your letter of May 17, 1989 to our New York Office, concerning the tariff classification of luggage exterior body fabrics, produced in Taiwan, under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA).


The merchandise at issue consists of two samples of polyester fabric stated to be coated. Style 2380-843-XXX ("843") is composed of an 1800 denier polyester basket weave construction measuring 59 inches wide. It contains three applications of polyurethane plastic with the weight ratio of polyester to plastics being .477kg (90 percent) to .053kg (10 percent). Style 2380-886-XXX ("883") is a 1200 denier polyester basket weave measuring 59 inches wide. It also contains three applications of polyurethane with a weight ratio of polyester to polyurethane of .65lb (81.2 percent) to .15lb (18.8 percent).


Is the instant merchandise considered to be coated with plastics under HTSUSA?


Heading 5903, HTSUSA, provides for classification of textile products impregnated, coated, covered or laminated with plastics, other than tire cord covered by Heading 5902.

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. Any change in the "feel" of the material is not taken into account. In essence, the plastics coating must alter the visual characteristic of the fabric in order for the fabric to be considered coated with plastics.

Applying the statutory test to the submitted samples, using normally corrected vision in a well lighted room, the instant merchandise does not have a plastics application visible to the naked eye. Viewed from above, the plastic is visible only through a change in color; not sufficient under the Note to be considered coated with plastics. Viewed from the side, it is difficult, if not impossible, to distinguish the plastics from the layer of fabric. As the plastics must be visually distinguishable from the fabric without a change in color, we cannot classify the merchandise under heading 5903, HTSUSA.


As a result of the foregoing, the instant merchandise is classifiable under subheading 5407.10.00, HTSUSA, textile category either 619 or 620, as woven fabrics of synthetic filament yarn, including woven fabrics obtained from materials of heading 5404, woven fabrics obtained from high tenacity yarn of nylon or other polyamides or of polyesters. The statistical subdivision, the ninth and tenth digits of the classification, and the textile category, depend upon the weight per square meter of the polyester. The applicable rate of duty is 17 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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